A 30 year old woman, charged on August 23rd, 2009 in an early Sunday morning assault on her 95 year old landlord at the residence they shared at 309 West Main Street in Alexandria, received an eight year sentence in Criminal Court Friday.
Debralee Hardcastle pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated burglary. She received an eight year sentence to serve in the robbery case and three years to serve in the burglary. The two sentences are to run concurrently as one eight year term and concurrently with a Wilson County violation of probation against her.
Hardcastle was given jail credit for time served from August 23rd, 2009 to October 15th, 2010.
Chief Mark Collins of the Alexandria Police Department, on August 23rd, 2009, said Hardcastle was charged with especially aggravated burglary, especially aggravated robbery, and especially aggravated assault in the attack on Lilae Belle Gilliam. Hardcastle was also charged at the time with theft under $500 in a separate case.
According to Chief Collins, Gilliam, who lived alone, rented a portion of her home to Hardcastle and another woman less than a month before this incident occurred. They apparently moved here from Wilson County. Both dwellings in the Gilliam home were under the same roof but had separate entrances.
Chief Collins said Hardcastle, in order to alter her appearance, dressed disguised as a man and then left her room around 3:15 a.m. He said 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 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 said 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.
The case was investigated by the Alexandria Police Department in cooperation with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.