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Handyman Accused in Late Night Beating of Elderly Woman After Dispute About Money

Authorities say the 73-year-old victim is in the intensive care unit at Athens Regional Medical Center after being struck repeatedly with a blunt object while she was in bed at her Peacock Drive home Thursday night.

A 22-year-old man is behind bars in the Oconee County Jail, accused of beating a 73-year-old woman with a blunt object late Thursday night while she was in bed at her home on Peacock Drive.

The victim called 911 shortly after midnight Friday requesting medical assistance, but didn't mention an attack, according to Chief Deputy Lee Weems. However, when medics arrived and saw the woman's injuries, they immediately contacted the , he said.

Details about how the man entered the home and the object used to harm the woman are not yet being disclosed, but Weems said the woman sustained multiple injuries to her head and face. She was taken to Athens Regional Medical Center and is currently in the intensive care unit.

With the GBI, Habersham County Sheriffs' Office and the Union County, North Carolina Sheriff's Office assisting with the investigation, deputies worked  all night.  They interviewed the victim's caretaker and tracked down leads, which quickly narrowed the person of interest to a man who had been working as a handyman at the victim's home, Weems said. The two had apparently had a dispute over money the previous day.

A deputy located the man's 1989 Nissan Pulsar at Old Hwy 441 and the Clarke County line around 11 a.m. Friday. Blood was found on the outside and deputies looked in the windows and also saw bloody items of clothing on the inside, according to a news release. Warrants were obtained and GBI crime scene specialists are searching the vehicle. The suspect was later found on Barbers Creek and taken into custody.

Jacob Potter Wagner of Rays Church Road,  originally from Waxhaw, North Carolina, has been charged with aggravated assault and is being held without bond in the Oconee County Jail awaiting an appearance before a judge.  Additional charges are pending.

Weems said investigators are looking into Wagner's criminal history, which includes at least one arrest for a non-violent crime. 

Authorities believe Wagner had been living in the area for about five months  visiting family.  Weems did not know whether Wagner had worked as a handyman at other homes.

Ralp J Villani, Esquire May 12, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Great job by all law enforcement Be safe out there Kudos to all!! Ralph

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