CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Pinch man was arrested Monday and accused by police of robbing two homes in the area last month. An elderly woman beaten in one of the robberies was so badly hurt that she remains in the hospital.
Aaron B. Chapman, 21, was charged with two counts of nighttime burglary, one count of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted first-degree robbery in connection with the two home invasions in Pinch, said Kanawha County Sheriff Johnny Rutherford.
Detectives and deputies believe Chapman went to the Church Drive home of Ramona Jones, 74, early in the morning of Feb. 28. They say Chapman broke in and severely beat the woman. When emergency responders first arrived, Jones was unconscious.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, deputies found broken furniture, bloodstains, open jewelry boxes and an overturned cook stove in Jones' house. Her flat-screen television was missing.
Jones had a broken collarbone, broken ribs, broken vertebrae and a broken facial bone, according to the complaint, as well as two punctured lungs and bleeding in the brain.
That same morning, deputies believe Chapman and another man tried to break in the door of Frank Mace, 59, of Mace Street.
Mace told deputies two men rang his doorbell just after midnight. At first he thought they were his grandsons and began to open the door, but soon realized they were up to no good.
Mace was also injured trying to keep the men from getting into his house. They fled after he called police, but not before smashing the glass out of his front door.
What Mace, a retired principal at Cedar Grove Elementary, didn't realize during the incident is that he knew Chapman. He said he made eye contact with Chapman during the incident but didn't make the connection until his name was brought up during the investigation.
That's because the men had scarves partially covering their faces, he said.
"I didn't want it to be true. I've been acquainted with Aaron's family for over 20 years," Mace said on Monday night. "I was around his mother when she was a little girl and I was around Aaron when he was born."