By Nate Smith
---- — A Washington man is in jail after allegedly beating his grandmother with a decorative rock and then stealing her car.
Christopher Charles Archer, 33, 915 N.E. Fourth St., is now in custody at the Daviess County Security Center for charges related to the incident. According to city police, Archer was taken to jail Tuesday following his release from Daviess Community Hospital.
Court records say city police were called at 7:18 a.m. Sunday to a front porch at N.E. Fourth and Florence streets where a detective found an elderly female sitting on a bench with another male, later identified as Harold Klingle.
Klingle told officers he was flagged down by the woman, Oneda Cornelius, as he was heading down the street. Cornelius, 80, was unable to speak due to a stroke, and officers said it looked like she was severely beaten. Klingle asked Cornelius if her grandson, Archer, had beaten her and she shook her head yes.
Cornelius' family members were then contacted. Cindy Meade, Cornelius' daughter, said her son was living with his grandmother. She also said "she was very concerned and stated to officers that she thought something like this was going to happen."
Cornelius' 2004 Buick Regal was then reported missing. Meade told officers, according to court records, that Archer was not allowed to take the car and Cornelius' purse and cellphone were locked in the vehicle. She said there were problems with Archer taking items.
The victim was taken to Daviess Community Hospital for multiple injuries. Hospital personnel told officers Cornelius had blood in her ears, nose and mouth. She had to be intubated to prevent further injuries and had multiple fractures to her face, court records said. She was then taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville where personnel told officers Cornelius also had fractures to the back of her head. A representative of the hospital said information was not available on Cornelius Tuesday.
A search warrant was issued and officers searched the home. They found large amounts of blood, with most concentrated in the bedroom. Officers then found a broken stepping stone with writing, like the ones received after the loss of a loved one, in the bedroom. They believe, according to a probable cause affidavit, Archer used the rock to strike his grandmother.
Washington Police Chief Mike Healy said Tuesday Archer was at Daviess Community Hospital for an altercation not related to the incident. Archer has been charged with aggravated battery, a Class B felony; battery resulting in serious bodily injury and battery by means of a deadly weapon, both Class C felonies; auto theft, and theft, both Class D felonies.
Bond has been set at $1 million at the Daviess County Security Center.