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Harrisburg man charged with homicide after stepmother dies following assault

HARRISBURG, Pa.–A Harrisburg man is behind bars without bail after his elderly stepmother died 10 days following a brutal assault inside her Linden Terrac...
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HARRISBURG, Pa.–A Harrisburg man is behind bars without bail after his elderly stepmother died 10 days following a brutal assault inside her Linden Terrace apartment, according to court documents.

Rodney A. Deavers, 47, is charged with criminal homicide, strangulation, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment and possession of instruments of a crime. He was arraigned March 31 and taken to Dauphin County Prison without bail.

Harrisburg Police responded to Linden Terrace Apartments along the 1200 block of North Front Street on March 17 for a welfare check. Officers found Deavers’ stepmother, 75-year-old Martha Watson, on the floor next to her bed, according to the criminal complaint. Police noticed Watson’s arms covered in bruises and she also had red marks on her neck, according to court documents.

Watson told police that Deavers had beaten her and had been doing it for several months, according to the criminal complaint. She said Deavers hit her 10 to 15 times with a green broomstick then wrapped something around her neck and strangled her for about five minutes.  Watson also told police that Deaver’s handed her a kitchen knife and told her to cut her own throat.

During a search of the apartment, police found a green broomstick and large kitchen knife. There was also documents with Rodney Deavers’ name on it. Officers reviewed security camera footage from Linden Terrace Apartments and saw Deavers exit the victim’s apartment just before they arrived at the scene.

Watson died on March 27 at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. The Dauphin County Coroner’s office ruled her death as a homicide caused by multiple traumatic injuries.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Deavers on April 19.