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Bothell caretaker charged in attempted murder of Alzheimer's, cancer patient

A Bothell caretaker has been charged with attempted murder in the second degree for assaulting her patient by hitting him in the head with a lamp Tuesday.

Anna Ward, 52, is currently being held in Snohomish County Jail on $1 million bail for beating 92-year-old John Staeber, according to charging documents.

Staeber is in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center with fractures to the bones in his face and ribs. He also has injuries to his spleen, displaced teeth, multiple deep lacerations to his face and head, along with bruises on his chest, arms and legs, the documents continue.

Police received a call from Ward's sister, stating Staeber had bitten Ward on the thigh and given her bruises on her arms. An officer responded to the incident, but no one answered the door. The officer called Ward's sister, who informed him they were no longer at the scene. Ward then grabbed the telephone and said she had "hit a man in the head with a lamp and that if someone didn't get to him, he would die," the documents continued.

The officer entered the home and found Staeber on the center of a bed, tightly wrapped in bedding, bleeding profusely from the head. The walls and a nearby door were spattered with blood, two lamps were broken and covered in blood. A bloody cane was also seen in the room.

Ward told police she and her daughter had been living with Staeber rent-free in exchange for Ward caring for him. Staeber suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and cancer.

Ward said there had been times where she felt she should pay Staeber for rent, but he always denied her request. Ward stated Staeber was often verbally abusive and would threaten to kick her and her daughter out of the home. Ward said she takes numerous prescriptions because she has neck pain and was tired of taking care of Staeber because of his "incontinence," the documents continued.

The fight between Ward and Staeber started because he threatened to kick her out and caused her daughter to cry before she left for school. Ward sat next to Staeber on the bed to confront him and he reached toward her, triggering the fight. She said she focused on hitting him in the head and he punched and scratched her.

Later that day, Ward came to the Bothell Police Department with her sister and brother-in-law, admitting to hitting Staeber with a lamp and cane. She claimed the fight was somewhat mutual, but added, "I hit him real good."

Police saw bruises on her arms and legs, a small cut on her arm and a bit mark on the inside of her thigh, the documents continued.

"That's nothing compared to what I did to him," she said.

The exposed areas of her arms and legs had dried blood on them. Ward said she changed out of her dress after the incident, placing the dress in the washing machine.

"I just want to be away from him," Ward said to police. "I just want to go to jail."

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