published Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Meigs County man charged in attack on mother

A Meigs County, Tenn., man was charged Wednesday with criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder after being accused of attacking his mother with a hammer.

Jeron Smith, 22, from Georgetown, Tenn., hit his 50-year-old mother Karen Neal in the head with a hammer Tuesday afternoon during an argument, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

"He caused serious blunt-force trauma to the head," TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.

Karen Neal is listed in critical condition and is on life support at Erlanger hospital, officials said.

Neal's husband, John Neal, arrived at the Georgetown house around 2 p.m., shortly after the argument, Helm said, and found his 5-year-old grandson in the yard holding a shotgun.

Neal chased Smith away with another shotgun and shot him once as he fled on foot, Helm said.

"Investigators determined that Smith had given the 5-year-old child a shotgun to hold," she said, but added investigators didn't know whether the gun was loaded when Smith gave it to the child.

Smith also has been charged with aggravated child endangerment, the TBI said.

Authorities apprehended Smith and took him to Erlanger for treatment for the gunshot wound. On Wednesday, he was released and booked into the Meigs County Jail on a $110,000 bond.

Helm said the TBI investigated 96 domestic violence-related homicides in Tennessee in 2011.

"Unfortunately, if you look at crime statistics in Tennessee, you are more likely to be hurt by someone you know during a domestic incidence than a stranger," she said.

The TBI is investigating the case along with the Meigs County Sheriff's Office and the 9th Judicial District Attorney General's Office.

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