Big Beaver man accused of slashing a woman’s neck

Big Beaver man accused of slashing a woman’s neck

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Beaver County Times

Monday August 16, 2010 08:47 PM

BIG BEAVER — A Big Beaver man accused of slashing a woman’s neck with a utility knife early Saturday told his father that the woman recited a Bible verse after a long night of drinking and asked him to kill her, according to a criminal complaint.

“So I did,” said Thomas Heaton, 30, of 110 Peach Alley. 

The deep wound extending from just below Mary Jo Cook’s right ear to the midline of her neck was not fatal. Cook, 41, of 401 15th St., New Brighton, was treated at Ellwood City Hospital and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Cook could not be reached for comment Monday.

Heaton remained in the Beaver County Jail Monday afternoon, charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment, but his attorney said his parents were expected to post his $50,000 bond.

Police reported that Cook and four other men, including Heaton’s brother, Joseph, 32, and Edward C. Britton, 24, had been drinking in the Koppel area from Friday night into Saturday morning before returning to the Heaton residence at Peach Alley.

They continued drinking there in an upstairs hall and in Joseph Heaton’s bedroom, where Thomas Heaton joined them.

Cook and Thomas Heaton continued drinking in the hall after Joseph Heaton and Britton retired for the night, according to the complaint.

Police found blood in the hall and believe Thomas Heaton slashed Cook there, the complaint said.

Britton told police that he was awakened by Cook screaming and found her in the hall with a large neck wound. He and Joseph Heaton attempted to tend to the wound, but Cook left the house after a short period and was found walking by an unidentified neighbor, who called police.

Meanwhile, Thomas Heaton had gone downstairs, where he washed in a bathroom and told his father, Samuel R. Heaton Jr., that he had slashed Cook’s neck at her request, according to the complaint. Police reported that he threw a red, folding Craftsman utility knife on the kitchen table while speaking with his father. 

He also told his father that police would be coming for him and he intended to wait for them, which he did.

Pittsburgh attorney Steven Townsend, who is representing Heaton, questioned the details in the criminal complaint. He said his client takes medication to control seizures caused by head injury he suffered in a traffic accident.

“I know it was very hectic when the police were there, and I’m not sure what was quoted in that affidavit was actually said,” Townsend said.

He said he had not yet spoken with his client, who is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday.