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Bothell caretaker's charges change from murder to assault

A Bothell caretaker is now facing charges for assault in the first degree instead of attempted murder, after hitting her patient in the head with a lamp last 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.

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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