Police: Henrico man attacks mother with meat cleaver

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A Henrico man is behind bars, accused of viciously attacking his mother with a meat cleaver.

Joseph N. Yates, 25, of McLean Court faces a charge of aggravated malicious wounding.

Police say they responded to the 1200 block of McLean Court late Monday night. According to police, the victim said she was on the phone with her daughter when her son, Joseph Yates, walked into the kitchen and returned with the cleaver. After that, police say Yates repeatedly struck his mother about the head, causing multiple skull fractures. Police say the victim's thumb was nearly severed as she raised her hand to protect herself.

After the assault, police say Yates returned to the computer in his room. Jail records indicate he was arrested shortly thereafter.

The victim, who police chose not to identify, was hospitalized and listed in stable condition. Police said she made the initial 911 call from a neighbor's residence.

"Simply to put it, she had the will to survive. In spite of her injuries, the severity of her injuries, she knew that she had to make that phone call," said Henrico Police Lt. Eric Owens.

Neighbor Gayle Clarke lives across the street.

"How horrible, because she's a very nice lady," Clarke said, adding, "I'd tell her to just hang in there, the Lord will take care of her and help him also."

Court records indicate Yates has a history of mental issues including bi-polar disorder and depression. A 2007 restraining order taken out by his mother noted Yates was observed "...in a rage, because he is not taking his meds." An assault charge against Yates was placed that year but later dismissed, according to court papers.

The reason for the most recent attack remains unexplained. Yates is being held without bond, and is expected back in court in October, pending the results of a mental evaluation.

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