LEBANON, KY (WAVE) - A Kentuckiana man sits in jail charged with savagely beating his own mother and then shooting her in the head. She survived that brutal attack, and reached out to the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter to investigate her claims that Kentucky State Police abandoned her 9-1-1 calls for help.
WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Eric Flack dug through court records, listened to 9-1-1 tapes, talked to state police and the woman at the center of it all to piece together what really happened.
Susan Wright is in a prison of pain: 72 staples in her head, a shattered jaw, a broken nose and broken trust in the Kentucky State Police Department.
"They left me here," Wright said, recovering from her injuries at her Marion County home, "after I begged them not to."
9-1-1 calls obtained by the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter department reveal a chaotic scene after Shane Ray Wright shot his mother in the head after an argument erupted into violence.
Family members said pictures of Shane as a loving father and son faded when mental illness derailed his life. His criminal record is 12 pages long, including convictions for assault, wanton endangerment, fleeing from police, burglary, and numerous alcohol and drug charges.
"I wanted my son to be a normal person," Susan said. "He's my son."
She said love drove her to take her son in, after Central State Hospital in Anchorage released him. A judge ordered Shane to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation. But days after her son's January release, Susan said Shane stopped taking his meds, started drinking, and spiraled out of control.
"This is my house! I'm in control now!" Susan said her son yelled at her. "You don't know who I am! I work through the FBI. I'm an FBI hit man."
Susan said she grabbed the phone, hid in her bedroom, and called 9-1-1 for help.
"My son is going off," she is heard telling the dispatcher on the 9-1-1 recording. "I just picked him up from Central State Hospital this week, and he will kill me if he gets through my bedroom door."
The dispatcher told Susan that Kentucky State Police were on the way. Ten minutes later, troopers had yet to arrive.
So Susan fled to a neighbor's house and made a second 9-1-1 call, pleading for law enforcement to hurry.
"I need the sheriff," Susan is heard on the 9-1-1 recording, telling the dispatcher. The dispatcher told Susan the Marion County Sheriff's Department was busy working a fatal accident and that she was going to be connected to state police.
"I've done that sir," Susan explains. "This boy is gonna kill me if you all don't get somebody over here."
When state police arrived, Susan said troopers questioned her and her son, then made a startling conclusion.
"They said, look we've talked to him, he's calmed down. I don't think he's a threat to you," Susan said the troopers told her. "I said for Jesus Christ, he threatened to kill me."
Susan wanted state police to arrest Shane or remove him from the home. But he told troopers his mother was the one who instigated the fight and was making threats of her own. At that point, Shane had not assaulted his mother, and criminal and psychiatric histories are not readily available to troopers in the field.
So Susan said state police allowed her son to stay, and the troopers left. Susan went to her daughters house down the road but said she forgot her heart medication. Later that night, believing Shane was passed out, Susan quietly tried to sneak back inside to get her pills.
She said her son jumped out from behind the door, dragged her down the hall by her hair, and began to beat her.
"I could hear my skull popping," Susan said of the attack. "I was just laying there praying to God to pass out."
Then she said her son pulled out a .357 revolver she kept in the home.
"And he had it right between my eyes," Susan said, putting her hand up to her forehead.
Susan said she knocked the gun away, but her son fired, the bullet ripping open her scalp. She played dead, laying motionless in a pool of her own blood for hours, until Shane fell asleep.
"And that's when, so help me God, I heard my dead husband and Jesus Christ tell me to go for it or you're not going to make it out of there."
Once again, Susan ran next door. But this time when her neighbor called 9-1-1, it was for an ambulance.
"His name is Shane Wright, he's got two weapons," the neighbor can be heard on the 9-1-1 recording telling dispatchers as Susan cries in the background. "The state police has done been here," the neighbor told the dispatcher. "She needs an ambulance now."
Shane Ray Wright is now charged with first degree assault and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. In a preliminary hearing in February, Shane's attorney claimed Susan attacked him and that he hit her in self defense.
Shane also told detectives he only fired the gun to scare his mom and didn't mean to hit her. But Susan claims that's another case of her son distorting reality.
"He said, ***** you're going to die tonight," Susan said. "You're going to get what's coming to you."
The conflicting stories are surely one reason state police originally left the scene. KSP spokesperson Lt. David Jude wouldn't comment on the specifics of the case but said in general, domestic violence cases are not always as clear cut as they first seem.
In the preliminary hearing, the KSP detective investigating this case testified he found a second gun in the home and that it also had been fired. KSP was doing ballistics tests to find out who pulled the trigger.
Investigators also found a small amount of pot and $15,000 in cash in Susan Wright's vehicle, although for now, that seems to be unrelated to what happened with her son, and she's not facing any charges.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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