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Plant City woman Barbara Harvey recovering after machete attack by grandson

5:25 PM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
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Plant City, FL -- Deep machete wounds to her arms and face.

A Plant City woman is recovering after she was attacked by her own grandson over the weekend.

Neighbors were worried something awful might happen to Barbara Harvey, but at 75 she had been worried she would need someone to look out for her, even if that someone was -- as neighbors put it -- her "deadbeat grandson."

Still, they were scared for her. And on Saturday, their instincts unfortunately proved right.

"That's what it's all about. Drugs and alcohol," said Robyn Canty.

Canty still can't shake the horrifying image of Harvey covered with blood, sitting upright in her chair.

"In shock. In shock. I'm like - Oh my God."

At about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Canty noticed Barbara's dog had gotten out, and sent her 8-year-old son to go get it.

But that's when they noticed the animal was acting frightened and was soaked with blood.

The boy brought the dog back to his neighbor, but was confronted by Barbara's grandson, 34-year-old Anthony Griffith, at their front door.

"He came back out and he said 'Mom, Anthony just told me to get out,'" said Canty.

Robyn ran to check on her neighbor and found Barbara with deep wounds to her arms and face, bleeding badly.

Griffith, who'd apparently attacked his grandmother with a machete, was curled up on the couch, she said, confessing his actions to 911.

"Her lacerations are so deep, that I don't know if she would have been able to make the call herself. So in a way he almost took a life and saved it at the same time," said Cristal Bermudez Nunez, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Neighbors say Griffith had been living with his grandmother for about five years. They describe him as a mean drink, a moocher and a leech.

"He's never worked as far as I know a day in his life," said neighbor Bob Henry.

About five months ago, they say cops were out at the house for another disturbance call, and at that time they begged Barbara to throw him out.

"But she didn't want to. She just didn't. Because, you know, it's her grandson. She loved him dearly," said Marie Henry.

Neighbors, still grasping for a motive, say Griffith seemed stunned by his own actions.

They say he went with deputies, peacefully, mumbling "What did I do?" and "What's going to happen to me?"

Charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery, the answer, neighbors hope, is a lengthy prison term.

"I want him gone. Just let him rot," said Canty.

"Because I'd be scared. I'm sorry, but if he came back, I'd be scared," said Marie Henry.

Harvey was in fair condition, but still in the intensive care unit at Tampa General Hospital on Monday.

Neighbors who visited her Sunday night say she was able to speak and that her only concern was not for her physical appearance, but for her safety.

She didn't want them to let her grandson out, and certainly didn't want him anywhere near her.

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