1999 attack linked to teacher's death

Complications from injuries suffered in an attack by one of her pupils caused the death of a former special education teacher, Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said Friday.

Delayed complications of multiple blunt and sharp force injuries were responsible for the death Thursday of Linda Gail Hendrick, 59, Mr. Tuten said.

Ms. Hendrick, who taught at Murphey Middle School, had been in a coma since being severely beaten and stabbed by 14-year-old David Drayton, on Nov. 22, 1999. He was convicted of aggravated assault in Richmond County Juvenile Court and sentenced to five years. He was released in December 2004.

The attack against Ms. Hendrick occurred in a restroom attached to her classroom. The teacher was left to suffer from what District Attorney Danny Craig described as a lingering "traumatic brain injury."

She was stabbed 70 times with a pair of scissors.

Mr. Craig said Friday that he cannot comment on whether Ms. Hendrick's death will lead to murder charges.

In 2000, the Georgia General Assembly passed the Gail Hendrick Law, giving juvenile judges authority to try juveniles as adults if older than 13.

Mr. Craig said the new law elevated aggravated battery, a crime that had been considered a misdemeanor, to felony status.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.