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franklin county times

Hatchet attack suspect arrested in Chicago

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
June 28, 2001
Gregory Sykes, accused of assaulting his wife, Marie Porter-Sykes, with a hatchet on Mother's Day, has been arrested in Chicago.
Lt. Wade Johnson of the Meridian Police Department said police and FBI agents from Chicago arrested Sykes on Sunday. The 40-year-old suspect was apprehended in a private home.
Sykes is charged with aggravated assault. Johnson said an anonymous tip received by Chicago officials led to the arrest.
The attack generated angry remarks by the victim's daughter, Tina Finley, who criticized the Meridian Police Department's handling of the case. Finley said confusion about the weapon diminished the seriousness of the crime.
Initially, a Meridian police spokesman said the victim was "cut with a sharp object." Police later identified the weapon as a hatchet. Finley said her mother was struck nine times in the back of her head and on her back, neck and face.
Finley said police also failed initially to tell the public that Sykes took her 9-year-old son from her mother's home at 1913 12th Ave. as he fled to Chicago. She said at the time she wanted police to pursue a kidnapping charge but police said it was a civil matter and weren't sure if kidnapping statutes would apply.
Finley asserted last month the child witnessed the attack. Johnson said he may have witnessed part of it.
No weapon has been recovered. The victim was released from the hospital, Johnson said, and "to our knowledge" is recuperating.
Johnson said Sykes appeared before a Chicago judge Tuesday and waived extradition. Meridian police must pick him up within the next two weeks.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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