Woman, 39, bludgeoned son charged; Baseball bat used in attack, police say; Mother in critical condition; Youth, 16, held without bond; murder try alleged


An emergency call to police describing a bloody and brutal assault of a 39-year-old Glen Burnie woman led to the arrest of her 16-year-old son on charges that he tried to kill his mother by bludgeoning her with a baseball bat, county police said.

John Arthur Epley Jr., of the 1200 block of Crawford Drive, was charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder and assault with intent to murder. He is being held without bond at the county detention center.

Joyce Epley, also of the Crawford Drive address, was in critical but stable condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was taken after the attack Monday.

The crime is similar to another attack with a baseball bat that occurred nearly a year ago in the same neighborhood. Police said they don't believe there is any connection between the two incidents.

Police said they got a call shortly after 2 p.m. from someone who identified himself as John and told a dispatch operator he was 16 years old. The caller told police he hit his mother in the head with a baseball bat and that she was going to die. The boy said his mother began choking on her own blood after he struck her a second time, court documents show.

The emergency operator kept the youth talking on the telephone while police went to the house. When officers arrived, they forced open a side door and found the boy still on the telephone. Officer Stephen Atkinson said he heard moaning in the next room and found the woman lying on the floor, her head and upper body covered in blood. A blood-stained aluminum baseball bat was on the floor 6 to 8 feet from the woman, police said.

She was semiconscious and her breathing was labored. The youth told a paramedic he hit his mother two or three times, police said. The youth said his mother hated him and he couldn't wait to be 18 so he could move, police said.

Residents in the quiet, close-knit Glen Burnie neighborhood said the Epleys appeared to be a model family. Joyce and John Sr. have been married several years and lived in the neighborhood four or five years.

Joyce Epley quit her job as a cook at the Anne Arundel Convalescent Center two years ago to stay home with John and their older daughter, April. John Epley Sr. worked two jobs to take care of his family, neighbors said, and he and his namesake often spent time together playing basketball in a nearby park.

No one had known of any problems in the household that might have led to an attack.

"She's a loving mother," said Esperanza Sangalang, a next-door neighbor. "She loves her children. She takes good care of her children."

News of the attack caused neighbors to remember a similar assault that occurred 11 months ago in a house three blocks away. In that incident, William F. Hollowak Jr. of the 300 block of King George Drive was charged with first-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of his father, William F. Hollowak.

Court records showed the younger Hollowak, 19, had a history of mental disorders. Police said he struck his father in the head with an aluminum baseball bat. A jury trial in that case is scheduled Sept. 5.

Pub Date: 8/07/96

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