Woman describes Newberry Co. home invasion on 911 call

Published: Jan. 9, 2008 at 10:49 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2008 at 5:16 AM EST
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NEWBERRY COUNTY, SC (WIS) - WIS News 10 has obtained a recording of the horrifying 911 call made during a violent home invasion.

Three men are facing multiple charges in the brutal attack. Roy Johnson was brought back to Newberry County Wednesday, and now a fourth man is charged.

"I need police! Men just break in my trailer and they're beating my husband and my daughter!" A woman makes an hysterical plea for help as her family gets attacked in their home.

"They're in my trailer and they beat my husband - he's got heart trouble! Please hurry!"

"I heard from one they wanted money! And my daughter's handicapped!" She frantically describes what had happened. "They had him on the floor beating him when I left."

The woman had made a run for it from her home across the street to a relative. That's when family member Billy Hunter grabbed his shotgun. His wife got on the phone with 911.

Caller: "My husband just went with guns and a gunshot just went off."
Dispatcher: "Ok. A gunshot just went off?"
Caller: "Oh God!"

Hunter says he shot at the suspects taking off in a van.

Officers arrested Austin and Chauncey Partlow Tuesday near the scene. But investigators say Roy Johnson got help getting out of the area. Sheriff Lee Foster says Willie James Ashford drove him to Fairfield County. "Ashford is an accomplice," Sheriff Foster says.

On his way back, investigators say Ashford tried to escape a roadblock where officers were checking cars. They chased and arrested him for failing to stop for police. Then they learned Ashford and Johnson were friends, and started asking questions.

Sheriff Foster says, "He's confessed to picking up Roy and taking him to Fairfield County."

Now, Ashford is also charged with aiding a wanted felon. Sheriff Foster says, "He knew they were running from the law for a robbery that went bad."

Sheriff Foster says someone else helped Johnson get from Fairfield County to Gastonia, North Carolina, where a fugitive team caught up with him hiding out inside a Motel 6. Foster says that person will likely face charges, too.

Meantime, the family is trying to recover.

Robin Cofer says, "We haven't slept at all. We still yet haven't been to bed."

Nearly 48 hours after the break-in, the Cofers are still living the nightmare of what happened. Robin says, "Every little noise, every little loud bang that we hear, we just jerk. We try to lay down, and we're right back up. It's like we're wide awake."

Rich Cofer says, "I can't see out of my left eye; it's still swollen shut. My ribcage is killing me. I can't hardly breathe."

Rich and Robin will try to recover at a neighbor's house.

Their thoughts are with their mentally handicapped daughter Crystal, who's staying with family in Columbia. "She's not doing too good right now, she's not. She hasn't slept either," says Robin. "The child is terrified, she really is, and I don't know if I can even bring her back to the house, or her to even go back into her room, for a good while."

"She asks the same questions over and over again," says Robin. "Where they at? What they going to do to him? And she's just terrified."

"What really hurt the most is knowing nothing I could do about it, because they had me pinned down on the floor, with a gun to my head, standing on my neck. I couldn't move. I just had to lay there and watch them do what they were doing to her," says Rich. "She don't deserve nothing like that. She's handicapped. She's got the mind of a 10-year-old. She's 32."

Rich and Robin feel the capture of all three suspects is just the start of what will be a long healing process. But at this moment, one big question still remains. Robin asks, "Why us? Why did they choose us?"

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Reported by Jennifer Wilson & Jordan Sandler

Posted by Chantelle Janelle