Man charged with assaulting handicapped person

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 16, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
ROCKWELL — A Rockwell man was charged with assaulting a handicapped person after authorities say he punched the man, causing him to fall down a flight of steps.
A Rowan County Sheriff’s Office report said 59-year-old Jerry Adams was at his 415 Oliver Road home on July 29 when Joshua Eugene Burleyson, 25, met with him to discuss the $25 Burleyson owed him.
Adams told deputies they began to argue and Burleyson punched him in the chest, causing him to fall down the stairs on his back porch. Adams reported that Burleyson then left in a burgundy Mustang.
The report did not give any detail of Adams’ handicap.
When authorities arrived, Adams reportedly declined EMS services and told deputies that he only had a few minor scratches.
Deputies then left, but after about 20 minutes, Adams’ son, Johnny Adams, called 911 dispatch and said Adams was “having trouble breathing.” He was immediately taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center by ambulance.
Deputies went to the hospital the next day, but Johnny Adams told authorities his father had been diagnosed with a broken back and broken ribs and “wasn’t up to speaking with officers,” the report said.
Jerry Adams spoke with authorities on July 31, but said he had been diagnosed with four broken ribs and severe bruising. Jerry Adams confirmed with officers that the injuries were reportedly a result of the assault by Burleyson.
Burleyson was arrested and charged on Aug. 12 with assault on a handicapped person. Burleyson was also charged with assault on a female, but according to the report, the charge appears unrelated.
Burleyson was given a $3,000 bond and has since been released.