A 29 year old woman has been charged in an early Sunday morning assault on her 95 year old landlord at the residence they share at 309 West Main Street in Alexandria.
Chief Mark Collins of the Alexandria Police Department says Debralee Hardcastle is charged with especially aggravated burglary, especially aggravated robbery, and especially aggravated assault in the attack on Lilae Belle Gilliam. Hardcastle is also charged with theft under $500 in a separate case. Bond for Hardcastle totals $378,500 and she will appear in court September 17th. Hardcastle is currently on probation on other charges outside DeKalb County
According to Chief Collins, Gilliam, who lives alone, rented a portion of her home to Hardcastle and another woman less than a month ago. They apparently moved here from Wilson County. Both dwellings in the Gilliam home are under the same roof but have separate entrances.
Chief Collins says Hardcastle, in order to alter her appearance, dressed disguised as a man and then left her room around 3:15 a.m.. He says she went outside, went around the house, and knocked on Mrs. Gilliam's side door. When Mrs. Gilliam answered the door, Hardcastle, holding a 14 inch knife, forced her way inside and demanded the elderly woman's medication. Mrs. Gilliam, who apparently did not recognize Hardcastle, resisted and tried to defend herself. Though she fought off the attack, Gilliam suffered lacerations and bruises from blows to her head and upper body.
After the assault, Hardcastle returned to her room, taking three bottles of medication from Gilliam's residence. Mrs. Gilliam, bleeding from the attack, dropped to her hands and knees, crawled to the foyer near the door and began screaming for help.
Apparently in an attempt to avoid arousing suspicion as to her possible involvement, Hardcastle removed her disguise, changed her clothes, cleaned up and went back to assist Mrs. Gilliam and called 911.
Gilliam was transported by DeKalb EMS to UMC Medical Center in Lebanon where she was treated and released.
Chief Collins says after interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence at the scene, Hardcastle was identified as a suspect.. She was picked up for questioning, but she refused to cooperate or give a statement. She was subsequently charged in the case.
Chief Collins says the case is being investigated by the Alexandria Police Department in cooperation with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department
Also in an effort to calm any fears, Chief Collins wants the citizens of Alexandria to know that this attack is believed to have only been an isolated incident. Still, he says his department will increase patrols late at night in the city as a precaution. And if you see or hear of suspicious activity occurring in your neighborhood contact the Alexandria Police Department or the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.