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Attempted murder

Caregiver arrested for abuse, neglect of disabled wife


News Staff Writer

An Atmore man, reportedly the primary caregiver for his disabled spouse, remained in the county jail under a half-million-dollar bond this week, charged with abusing the woman he was supposed to be caring for.
Police Chief Chuck Brooks confirmed this week that James Lee Williamson, 68, was arrested September 28 after emergency medical personnel noticed signs that his 69-year-old wife was probably being abused.
“APD was called to Atmore Community Hospital in reference to an elder abuse complaint,” Brooks said. “While there, our officers spoke with emergency room personnel who noted visible injuries. The woman had abrasions and contusions on her back, her right leg and her thigh.”
The corpulent victim, confined to her bed at home, was also “covered in feces,” reported the chief who added that a criminal investigation was immediately launched. “(Escambia County Department of Human Resources) was notified, as were APD investigators.”
According to an employee with the Escambia County Detention Center’s booking and release division, Williamson remained in the jail Tuesday, under a $500,000 bond. He is charged with one count each of first-degree elderly abuse or negligence, attempted murder-domestic violence and tampering with evidence.
Atmore Fire Department reports show that firefighters were called September 21 to perform a “lift assist” at a residence on Old Bratt Road, since ambulances from all three local providers were unavailable.
Lift assists are normally provided when a patient weighs 250 pounds or more. Reports noted that the woman refused transport to ACH, although firemen noted that her leg was in need of medical attention.
Two days later, when an Atmore Ambulance Service crew was called to the residence to help lift the woman out of bed, they discovered not only the abrasions and contusions previously noted, but also a serious wound on her neck.
“He told our investigators that he put the rope around her neck to help when he tried to move her,” Brooks said.
Reports are that the rope had cut into the woman’s neck deeply enough to generate first impressions that her throat had been cut.
Fire Chief Ron Peebles declined comment on the particulars of the case and on reports that police questioned all AFD personnel involved in the incident. He did say the woman had no such injury to her neck on the day AFD responded.
“All we saw was the leg when we were there,” he said. “She didn’t have any neck injury that any of our people saw. Two days later, she did. I can’t talk about the details because it’s still under investigation.”