Originally created 03/31/03

Grandson is accused of assault



A Blythe teenager broke into his grandmother's home to rob her early Sunday and assaulted her when she woke up, an attack she thought was a bad dream, authorities said.

Sharon Peterson, 50, of Camp Josey Road, is recovering at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where she will likely require surgery for a broken shoulder bone, said Investigator Blaise Dresser of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. She also suffered a dislocated elbow, cuts above her left eye, a bloody nose and red marks around her neck.

Ms. Peterson said she didn't think the assault was real and told deputies the injuries might have come from a fall.

"She kept talking about this horrible dream that (her grandson) was on top of her, choking her," Investigator Dresser said. "I think she just really doesn't want to believe he did it."

Walter O'Brien Ashley III, 17, of the 3000 block of Camp Josey Road, was charged with burglary and robbery by force, both felonies. He remained in the Richmond County jail Sunday night.

Police say the teen spent Saturday helping his grandmother take furniture to his home down the block, where she was moving in with her daughter's family. Mr. Ashley accompanied her to the bank, where he saw her withdraw $500.

Ms. Peterson slept at her home Saturday night with only a bed and a few other items remaining. She told police she used the bathroom and might have fallen, but the next thing she remembers was seeing her grandson.

Ms. Peterson said she passed out. When she woke up, she called 911 and said she might have fallen. Her son saw the injuries and asked police to investigate.

Investigator Dresser said he found the victim's residence in disarray, with her purse and $500 missing. There were signs of a struggle in her bedroom, with a broken table and lamp. Outside the home, a stepladder was near the window and a window fan was pulled out.

Mr. Ashley was later arrested and the purse recovered. Police say he occasionally worked construction jobs but had not been employed in three weeks.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.