Police: Cape Coral man tried to kill stepfather

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Police say they arrested a Cape Coral man who admitted he stabbed his stepfather in the throat.

Derek Hartsfield, 31, had blood on his hands and forearms as he stood over his stepfather, who had a large kitchen knife sticking out of his neck and chin when officers arrived Tuesday at the home where they both live on the 1000 block of Southwest 15th Place, the Cape Coral Police Department said.

Hartsfield was arrested and faces an attempted homicide charge. He’s in Lee County Jail on $250,000 bond.

The stepfather, 55-year-old Walter Dawson, was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, his wife, Judi Dawson, told WINK News. Walter Dawson had surgery Tuesday night and “is doing well,” Judi Dawson said.

She didn’t witness the stabbing but said police told her the knife went through the back of her husband’s ear and was sticking out of his cheek.

Police say they were responding to a report of domestic violence when they arrived at the home. Judi Dawson, who is Hartsfield’s mother, said he put her in a chokehold and started strangling her and banging her head against a desk before biting her and repeatedly punching her in the face.

She eventually ran into the bathroom and locked herself in and called 911, but Hartsfield broke through the door and resumed hitting her, she said. Hartsfield eventually stopped and she ran outside.

Hartsfield has a history of drug and alcohol abuse and has been violent before, “but never like this,” his mother said.

No further information was immediately available.

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