Woman faces felony charges

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2008

LEWISTON – A disabled elderly man was stabbed in his home early Wednesday morning, but fortunately was not severely harmed.

Sometime between 1 and 2 a.m., a woman later identified as Deborah Gatling allegedly broke into 70-year-old Charlie Jenkins’ home at 108F Thompson Drive.

Gatling, 45, reportedly came in through the back door while Jenkins was asleep.

According to Jenkins’ account, he woke up when she grabbed his necklace – coincidentally a Lifeline Alert that Jenkins, who is wheelchair-bound, wears at all times.

Sometime during the struggle, the Lifeline button was apparently pushed, which alerted police of the dangerous situation.

&uot;After that she (Gatling) grabbed a knife from the kitchen, held it up and told the victim (Jenkins) she was going to kill him,&uot; Lewiston Police Chief B. Winston Panton told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

He continued, &uot;The victim got into a scuffle with her, at which point she stabbed him in his left hand.&uot;

Gatling then reportedly grabbed Jenkins’ wallet, which contained $140, out of his left shirt pocket and fled the scene.

When police arrived at Jenkins’ home, Gatling was already gone, but Jenkins refused to be transported to the hospital for treatment, so rescue personnel treated him on the scene.

&uot;After that we tried to make contact with the assailant, since Jenkins recognized her,&uot; Panton noted.

Jenkins told police his attacker was Gatling, who resided at 402C East Church Street.

Deputies were dispatched to her house and eventually gained entrance when the man reported to be Gatling’s boyfriend let them in.

According to police reports, Gatling was found hiding in a closet.

She was detained by police until Jenkins could make a positive identification, at which time she was transported to the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office in Windsor.

Gatling was charged with first degree burglary, robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault on a handicapped person, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and communicating threats.

The first four of those charges are felony counts.

Gatling was placed in the Bertie Martin Regional Jail under a $250,000 cash bond.

&uot;She has an extensive record, including beating on elderly folks… a very lengthy criminal past, and that’s why the bond was so high,&uot; Panton explained.

A search by a female officer upon Gatling’s arrival at the jail produced Jenkins’ wallet, which was apparently hidden under her clothing.

Panton thanked all other law enforcement personnel for their assistance in securing the scene and helping with the arrest.

&uot;I’d like to specifically thank Detective Sergeant Ed Pittman and Detective Eddie Hoggard with the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office and also the other deputies for their tremendous assistance on the scene this morning,&uot; he stated.

He continued, &uot;That’s the thing I love about Bertie County; we’re all like one big family and everybody helps each other.&uot;

Gatling’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 26.