Local News

Search is on in Franklin Co. for Attackers

Posted October 22, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A 90-year-old Franklin County woman is dead and her housemate is in the hospital after both were severely beaten during an apparent robbery. Now, the search is on for their attacker or attackers.

Residents of the small community of Franklinton were consumed by anxiety Wednesday afternoon as word spread of the crime. Police say someone apparently broke into the house, in an apparent robbery attempt, and brutally beat Mary Alice Harris and her 88-year-old friend, Graham Perry.

Harris was killed. Perry is in stable condition at Duke Medical Center.

Raymond Sneed says he's know Harris for 20 years. Word that Miss Alice was robbed and killed in her home, and her live-in friend was beaten, leaves Sneed and the sheriff's department deeply concerned.

"If you live 90 years on this Earth, you shouldn't have to die this way," explains Franklin County Sheriff Robert Redmond. "It was completely uncalled for, and was just a brutal thing."

Redmond says the person or persons that got into Harris' home gave her severe internal injuries. Perry suffered a punctured lung, a broken arm, a broken leg and head injuries.

The SBI is assisting the sheriff's department with the investigation. The Highway Patrol joined in the search for suspects by helicopter.

Sneed believes Harris got herself in trouble for being kind to nearly anyone who visited her home.

"If my car broke down or I didn't have any gas money, I could go to Miss Alice," explains Sneed. "As long as I paid her back, it wasn't a problem."

An unknown amount of cash was taken from the pair. At this point, the sheriff's department has several possible suspects. Investigators have spoken to Perry at the hospital, but aren't revealing what he said about the crime.

Anyone with leads is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff's Department.

Editor's Note:Recent studies show that while the elderly are less likely to be victims of violent crime, when they are, it tends to be much more serious.

Less than half a percent of people 65 and older are the victims of violent crime. However, they are twice as likely as younger people to be hospitalized as a result.

Most crimes against the elderly are for economic gain. Senior citizens are also twice as likely to be attacked at or near their homes as younger victims.

Source:Department of Justice

andKerrie Hudzinski