EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 25, 2013

Police: Son stabs, beats mother over drugs

Police: Argument was fueled by son's demand for drugs

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — SALEM — After stabbing his mother with a knife and bludgeoning her with a hammer yesterday, a Salem High night school student wasn’t done, police said.

Thomas George, 18, then held his severely injured mother down and told her, “Bleed out, bleed out — just let go,” according to a police affidavit.

He fled the family’s Cluff Crossing Road apartment, taking his mother’s green Kia Sophia and triggering a police pursuit that involved several departments, and led to doors being locked at Salem and Derry schools, Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said.

Catherine George, bleeding from stab wounds to her neck, leg and hand and suffering from hammer blows to the head, managed to call 911. She was in stable condition late yesterday at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston after being transported there by medical helicopter, according to police.

Nearly three hours after the attack, Thomas George was nabbed when he returned to the family’s Salem apartment.

He had abandoned the Kia in Derry, then stolen a Chevrolet Blazer nearby. He was captured after a passing motorist saw a shirtless, barefoot man run across busy Rockingham Boulevard and climb a fence, police said.

Thomas George, who police prosecutor Jason Grosky said has a “significant heroin addiction,” was ordered held on $250,000 cash bail by Judge Kristin Spath during his arraignment in 10th Circuit Court yesterday afternoon. He was arrested on two felony counts of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon.

“Your honor, we have significant concerns — one, the danger this defendant poses,” Grosky told Spath.

Thomas George became angry Wednesday night when his mother would not give him his Adderall, prescribed for what Grosky said were “psychiatric issues.” He threatened to stab his mother when she refused to give him the medication, Grosky said.

Catherine George was concerned her oldest son was taking larger doses than prescribed, according to the affidavit, written by Salem police Detective Steve Woidyla.

Neither police nor Grosky said why Thomas George takes Adderall, commonly prescribed for people with attention deficit disorder.

While Catherine George was lying in bed yesterday morning, her son — still angry — confronted her, holding a hammer in one hand and a knife in the other, the affidavit said. He demanded the Adderall, which she then gave him.

But Thomas George attacked his mother anyway, police said.

He then fled the family’s apartment, leaving his mother behind with life-threatening injuries.

Catherine George’s 911 call triggered an investigation and pursuit involving Salem, Derry, Londonderry and New Hampshire State Police.

After fleeing, Thomas George drove the Kia to Derry, where he abandoned the car while it was still running. It was left on Gamache Road, near the family’s former home at 89R Kendall Pond Road and close to the Londonderry town line.

Londonderry police shut down the road while investigators, including a K-9 unit, searched near the home and the abandoned car.

Thomas George then stole a green Chevrolet Blazer and headed back toward Salem.

Police sent out alerts to the community and notified Derry and Salem schools. Thomas George’s 15-year-old brother, Anthony George, is a freshman at Salem High School.

Thomas George, who formerly attended Pinkerton Academy, attends night school classes at Salem High, Superintendent Michael Delahanty said.

News of the search put residents on edge in both communities.

Charles Boyce of Derry sat in his car near the Londonderry roadblock, monitoring the pursuit through a police scanner application on his cellphone. He was concerned about Thomas George going to Haigh School in Salem, where his wife, Carrie, is a teacher.

“I just want to make sure they find this guy,” Boyce said. “It’s crazy.”

Several employees and customers at Shaw’s supermarket on Cluff Crossing Road could be heard discussing the pursuit.

“I heard they just found the car in Derry,” one woman said.

Patten held a press conference at the Salem police station shortly before noon to let the public know the danger was over. School doors in Derry and Salem were unlocked.

“It was hairy for a while,” Patten said.

The incident yesterday wasn’t Thomas George’s first run-in with the law.

He pleaded guilty in March to heroin possession. He received a suspended six-month jail sentence and a $434 fine from Spath.

He was placed on probation for a year and ordered to receive drug treatment.

But Thomas George did not comply with the judge’s order and continues to abuse drugs, Grosky said.

Thomas George was found guilty of using tobacco products in December 2009 when he was 14, according to court records. He was fined $124, with $62 suspended.

Should Thomas George make bail, he was ordered to have no contact with his mother or brother, refrain from drug and alcohol use, and not possess any weapons. He must also stay away from the family’s apartment.

George is scheduled to appear in court for a probable cause hearing next Thursday.

Catherine George has had her own brush with the law.

Earlier this year, she reached a plea deal after admitting she gave her brother-in-law a lethal dose of insulin in October 2012.

Catherine George was a 49-year-old nurse at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester. Her brother-in-law, Randall Percival of Raymond, was terminally ill with cancer and she told police she didn’t want him to suffer any longer.

As part of the plea deal, Catherine George permanently surrendered her registered nursing license. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but that sentence was suspended for two years on the condition of good behavior.

Staff writers Jo-Anne MacKenzie, John Toole and Alex Lippa contributed to this report.