A woman allegedly assaulted by a neighbor wielding a hammer Oct. 24 recounted the brutal attack in emotional testimony Monday in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
“I don’t know why he did it, and I’d like to know why,” the tearful 24-year-old said of Brian McGhee, 29, her Lawyer’s Lane neighbor facing an aggravated battery charge stemming from the 4 a.m. incident.
She told a bizarre, chilling tale of how a man she’d previously only greeted in passing showed up at her door that morning asking to use the telephone. She gave him a cell phone, but he appeared unable to make a call.
During this time she was in phone contact with a roommate who’d gone to eat breakfast at a Waffle House, she said, and when McGhee told her he needed a ride somewhere, she called and asked her roommate to take him. The roommate was coming home and agreed to do the favor, she said.
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McGhee then asked for a drink of water, and as she walked toward her kitchen, she saw him coming up behind her, she said. That’s when he started hitting her in the head with a hammer, she said.
She fell to the floor and crawled under a piano to get away. During the ensuing struggle, she managed at one point to get the hammer away from him and lie atop it. With his hands he then began to choke her from behind, and she tucked her chin to her chest to thwart him. He punched her and got the hammer back, and she then began to fight him in any way possible, she said, scratching him repeatedly with her fingernails.
Finally she managed to get away and run outside, where neighbors came to her aid.
Investigators said she had extensive wounds, including 17 head lacerations that required staples and the permanent loss of vision in her left eye. Detectives said that when they questioned McGhee the next day, they saw he had scratches on his face and torso, and they noted that he gave conflicting statements about his whereabouts the previous night.
The weapon was never recovered. The victim said she had a hammer in her house, but it was not the one McGhee hit her with. “I know a hammer was used to strike me,” she stated firmly.
As the hearing concluded, Recorder’s Court Judge Mary Buckner sent the case to Muscogee Superior Court, setting a bond of $15,000.