Coroner: Woman thrown from balcony in April died Saturday from brain damage

Sarah Robinson

Wesley Charles Barber
Wesley Charles Barber

A Cataula woman who suffered severe brain and spinal cord injuries in April after being thrown from a balcony during a Fourth Avenue party has died, according to the Muscogee County coroner's death report.

Shanita Rutherford, 24, was pronounced dead of intracerebral hemorrhage 10:20 a.m. Saturday at the Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Ga., according to Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan. Her body is currently undergoing an autopsy at the Georgia Bureau of Investigations in Atlanta, he said this morning.

According to the report, Rutherford was rushed to the Columbus Midtown Medical Center shortly after a party guest threw her from a balcony in the 3500 block of Fourth Avenue. The balcony was approximately 5 feet above the ground, the coroner said.

Deemed a quadriplegic with severe brain and spinal cord injuries, she was later transported to the Shepherd Spinal Center and eventually sent to Douglas Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Facility, Bryan stated.

The coroner said Rutherford returned home Nov. 13 needing 24/7 personal care. She was transported to the Kennestone Hospital on Nov. 18 after sustaining a head bleed and seizures, the coroner said in the report. She was eventually placed on life support due to the brain hemorrhage but died Saturday, he added.

Columbus Police said Wesley Charles Barber, 27, was arrested April 10 and charged with aggravated battery in connection to the assualt. He was transported to Muscogee County Jail, where he remains under a $100,000 bond.

Police said they will decide whether they will upgrade Barber's charges based on the results from the autopsy reports, along with the Rutherford's medical records and the police report.

The incident remains under investiagtion.

Stay with the Ledger for updates.

— Sarah is a crime and safety reporter at The Ledger-Enquirer. You can contact her on Twitter at @SarahR_92.