An elderly Pembroke man was reportedly beaten up while lying in his own bed at his South Main Street home earlier this week.
PPD Chief Mark Crowe said 70-year-old Devon Morris was awakened at 2:30 a.m. Monday morning to being beaten by numerous objects that were lying around his bedroom, including a hammer and a fan. Crowe said three people entered and ransacked the home after breaking out the back window.
Morris, who is on oxygen due to emphysema and does not own a telephone, reportedly walked a half block to his friend Gabby Hall’s pet grooming shop. Hall said she immediately called Pembroke Police and EMS after seeing her friend covered in blood, breathing heavily, "about to pass out."
Morris was rushed to Memorial Hospital, where he remained as of Friday afternoon. According to Hall, he is being treated for pneumonia as well as the lacerations to his head and arms and will be hospitalized for an undetermined amount of time.
Police interviewed one suspect, Bulloch County resident Donna Hodges, on Wednesday and Crowe said Hodges is slated to voluntarily take a polygraph test on Monday, June 15. Hodges was implicated by Morris.
According to the police report, Morris told police "she was hitting me with a fan and saying ‘you will remember Donna Hodges’ … I’ve been giving Donna money to pay her bills and probation fines since last year, now that Gabby is taking care of me, I was told not to be giving her money, and she got upset and came back…with two other people, but I could not tell if they were men or women."Crowe said he immediately tried to contact Hodges, but finally got her into the station on Wednesday. He said she denies trespassing and attacking Morris, but he is awaiting the results of Monday’s polygraph. She could not be reached.
Meanwhile, photos were taken of the scene and fingerprints were lifted as the investigation continues. Morris has yet to be fully interviewed, due to his condition.
Morris is a military veteran and longtime resident of Pembroke, and many residents know and respect him.
"There’s not a person in Pembroke that can say a bad thing about Mr. Devon," Pembroke resident Melissa Wilson said. "He is just an awesome person. How somebody could something like this is appalling."
Hall said Morris regularly helped around her shop and has grown close to her grandchildren.
"It doesn’t make sense how someone could brutalize such a loveable man," Hall said. "All the kids around here love him and call him ‘Mr. D.’ Everybody knows who he is. It’s pitiful for a disabled Vietnam vet to be treated like this. There’s no reason why this should’ve happened."
Cindy Milloy, with the Pembroke branch of the American Legion, said she has come to know Morris through the years as he attends all of the city’s Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day programs.
"This is just so sad," Milloy said. "He is sick and extremely weak and someone took advantage of that. He is such a kind and giving man. This is the most heinous crime in this city since Wilhelmina (Tuten - elderly woman who was assaulted last year)."