HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico police are now ruling Tuesday's suspicious death investigation as a homicide.
Fire crews responded to a call at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday for a medical emergency in the 3900 block of East Chatham Drive.
When they arrived on scene, they found an older woman, identified as 81-year-old, Bertha Bernice Pannell, deceased. "She would give you her clothes off her back," said Shelia Dudley, who claimed she lived in the home with her boyfriend, who is also Pannell's grandson. "She was a churchgoing lady," said Dudley. Pannell was covered in blood, according to Dudley. Dudley's boyfriend, who she claims is 47-year-old Ricardo "Ricky" Green, was no where to be found. She assumed the unthinkable and called 911.
Police said surroundings inside the home led them to believe the death was suspicious. Henrico detectives were called to the scene, and the investigation is ongoing.
Later at 7:40 p.m., Henrico police said Richmond police saw a "vehicle of interest" connected to the suspicious death. Authorities said the vehicle description matched the description officers were given in the "be on the lookout" message. Once the driver saw he was being approached by police, he allegedly sped off, engaging Henrico and Richmond police in a pursuit.
The car crashed on Staples Mill Road, near W. Broad Street, striking a power pole. Our cameras caught the driver being taken to an area hospital in handcuffs. Police said he suffered non-life threatening injuries. Green is still in the hospital, as of Wednesday afternoon.
No other cars were involved in the crash. Henrico police crash investigators are investigating the accident. Staples Mill Road, near W. Broad Street, was closed as crews worked to repair downed power lines.
Police said they have information on a suspect but have not charged anyone officially, but police charged Green with grand larceny and felony eluding police in connection to Tuesday night's case. "I'm disappointed. I'm sad," said Dudley. "I just hope and pray that he didn't do this. If he did…I want to know why," Dudley said.
Dudley said Green has never been violent. "He had arguments and stuff like that, but no hitting. That's his grandmother. That lady is 81-years-old." However, just last month, Pannell filed an emergency protective order against Green. According to court documents, Green and his girlfriend were fighting, when Pannell reportedly told him to "stop making so much noise" or she'd call police. While on the phone with 911, he reportedly ripped the cord from the phone and hit his grandmother in the head. He was charged with assault and battery, destruction of property and damaging a phone. Pannell filed an emergency protective order against him but let it lapse after 72 hours.
He's due in court on January 14 to face the charges for last month's assault.
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