published Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

2 held following shootings

Police believe they are closer to solving the mystery of how an Alabama man was robbed and shot in the chest and how the suspect was found a few hours later, bloody and bruised after another attack.

“It continues to get stranger as we go,” said DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris.

On Saturday, hours after an Alabama woman is accused of shooting an elderly man in the chest with a .22-caliber pistol as she was attempting to rob him, the woman was shot at with the same pistol and hit over the head with a lawnmower blade by her former boyfriend, Harris said.

Boyce “Pete” Batey, 74, of Whiton, Ala., is in critical condition from the gunshot wound, but authorities believe he will survive.

Patty Westbrook, of Guntersville, Ala., has been charged with attempted murder in the incident, Harris said. She is in DeKalb County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

Police first responded to a 911 call Saturday morning after Batey hobbled almost a quarter of a mile to a friend’s house after Westbrook dumped him out of his truck, Harris said. Batey told police a woman had taken his truck and shot him with his own gun, he said.

Police believe Westbrook and her ex-boyfriend Kenneth Chamblee, of Albertville, Ala., were together Saturday morning and the two ended up at a gas station in Geraldine, Ala., about 5 a.m., Harris said.

Batey also was at the station and Westbrook asked him for a ride, Harris said. While riding in the truck, she tried to rob Batey, finding his gun and shooting him, Harris said.

A few hours later, after getting back together, Westbrook and Chamblee got into an argument and police believe Chamblee attempted to shoot her with Batey’s gun, Harris said.

Westbrook escaped and was found a couple of hours later, driving Batey’s truck, Harris said. She was treated for a head wound but is recovering, he said.

Chamblee has been charged with attempted murder, said Bob Johnston, the 9th Circuit deputy district attorney. Chamblee’s bond was set late Tuesday evening.

“It’s hard to tell one story without the other, but we don’t foresee trying to prosecute them together,” Johnston said.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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