82-year-old victim dead three weeks after assault
PULASKI COUNTY - The 82-year-old man severely beaten during a robbery at his home in July died, KOMU confirmed with Pulaski County Sheriff's Department Thursday.
Robert Willhite died early Thursday morning at a Columbia hospital where he was being treated for injuries sustained during the robbery at his home near Swedeborg July 25.
Sheriff Ronald Long said the death may allow the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department to present prosecutors with additional charges against the suspects.
They include 43-year-old Vernon Parker Jr., 33-year-old Shawn Green, 34-year-old Melissa Winkle, 57-year-old Roby Sapere, 35-year-old Thomas York and 24-year-old Jessica Berry.
Police said Parker was suspected of beating Willhite during the robbery while Green acted as a lookout.
Parker was also part of an incident in which police arrested him for suspicion of making a homemade improvised explosive device (IED).
Long said all of the suspects are part of an organized crime ring.