More charges could be filed in Swedeborg robbery case after victim dies
An elderly Pulaski County man who was beaten and robbed in July died this morning.
According to Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long, 82-year-old Robert Willhite passed away early this morning in a Columbia hospital.
Willhite was alone in his Swedeborg area home on July 24 and bound to his wheelchair when multiple individuals burglarized his home and severely beat him.
As of Aug. 14, six people have been charged in connection to the incident.
Vernon Dale Parker Jr., 43, of Fulton, and Shawn A. Green, 33, of Waynesville, were each charged with first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, two counts of stealing a firearm, stealing, and felonious restraint.
Thomas York, 35, of Dixon, is facing seven charges including first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, felonious restraint, two counts of theft/stealing of a firearm and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Roby Sapere, 57, of Richland has been charged with burglary and first-degree assault causing serious physical injury.
Jessica Berry, 24, of Dixon, was arrested on charges of receiving stolen property.
Melissa Winkle, 34, of Crocker, was charged last week with possessing burglary tools and receiving stolen property.
Long said that an autopsy will be performed on Willhite this week. Once the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department has obtained these results, additional criminal charges against the suspects may be presented to Pulaski County Prosecutor Kevin Hillman.
Willhite has lived in this community since the early 1960s. He served in the Navy for many years and is a Korean War veteran. He owned several businesses in the community throughout the years and is an active member of the Pulaski County Shrine Club.