The Delmar community has rallied together in support of three victims hospitalized after separate attacks April 25.
A Go Fund Me account posted April 26 named Steve and Judy Franklin as the couple who were attacked in the early morning hours while in their home on Buckingham Drive in the Yorkshire Estates development.
Kim Nock, director of the Humane Society of Wicomico County, spoke highly of the couple and said Steve has been a volunteer with the organization for eight years, working three to four days a week helping walk and care for the animals.
She said the Humane Society of Wicomico County created the Go Fund Me account with a goal of raising $20,000. More than $18,000 had been raised as of April 28.
Nock said the couple are home after being hospitalized and she recently visited with them. “They are doing as well as expected,” she said.
The Franklins were attacked when Randon Wilkerson, 30, went to their home at about 3 a.m. after getting in a fight at a residence across the street. Wilkerson knocked on the rear door of the Franklins’ home, and Steve, 73, let him in. Wilkerson then punched Steve in the face and when Steve fell to the ground, court records state, Wilkerson picked up a glass angel figurine and struck him repeatedly on the face and head. Wilkerson threatened to kill Steve before attacking Judy, 76, breaking her eye sockets, records state. The couple were taken to TidalHealth Nanticoke Memorial Hospital; Judy later was sent to R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
The Humane Society of Wicomico County said all funds raised will go toward any medical bills, supplies for the couple’s dogs, and any other family needs. The only fees charged are the standard credit card processing fees, the site states. “We want to make this fundraiser as simple as possible for those wanting to contribute,” according to the site.
Officer also assaulted; succumbs to injuries April 28
The same night the Franklins were attacked, Wilkerson attacked Delmar police officer Cpl. Keith Heacook, who had responded to the Buckingham Drive home where Wilkerson first began fighting.
A resident of the home told police that she saw Wilkerson repeatedly kicking Heacook in the head as he lay face down on the floor in a pool of blood, according to court documents.
Responding officers found Heacook unconscious and pulled him from the home to administer first aid. Heacook eventually was sent to the shock trauma unit in Baltimore where he remains unconscious in the intensive care unit, according to a Facebook post by his wife Susan Heacook.
Wilkerson was charged with first-degree attempted murder, two counts first-degree assault, two counts possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, first-degree burglary, third-degree assault, offensive touching of a medical professional, and terroristic threatening. He was committed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in default of $451,000 cash bond.
Susan could not be reached for comment, but she wrote that she is praying her husband recovers and can come home. She thanked the community for their support, but also questioned why her husband responded to the home by himself.
“During a time in our country where police officers are targeted and disliked, wouldn't it be logical to dispatch more than one officer? My husband was beaten unconscious without any other law enforcement there to back him up. How long did he lay on the floor before help arrived?” she asked in her Facebook post. “I beg you to reevaluate your standards of policing and consider reaching out to other agencies for back up if you don't have the manpower within your department. There needs to always be more than one officer responding to calls of this nature. Had that been done, perhaps my husband would be sitting next to me instead of laying unconscious in a hospital bed.”
A fundraiser for Heacook has been created by The Community for Keith Heacook at The Bank of Delmarva. Checks and cash are both acceptable, and checks can be made payable to “Community for Cpl. Keith Heacook.” Donations can be made in person or by mail. The mailing address is 2727 N. Salisbury Blvd. Salisbury, MD 21801. For more information, contact the Bank of Delmarva.
Other events will be held this weekend in Heacook's honor. A Jeep convoy will assemble at 9 a.m. at the Millsboro Lowe's and leave at 10 a.m. to head for Mason Dixon Sports Complex in Delmar. A benefit slow-pitch softball tournament will be held Saturday-Sunday, May 1-2 in Heacook's name at the fields, 704 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Delmar. A baked goods table and other food will be available at the event, which will also include raffles and a 50/50.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the announcement of Cpl. Keith Heacook’s death April 28.