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Aurora man charged with battery in stabbing of woman in hospital
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/2/2010 6:16 AM

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One purported murder may have almost sparked another in a case that saw Aurora police charge a 39-year-old man with repeatedly stabbing a woman who shared a hospital room with one of his relatives.

Darrell Franklin, 39, of the 700 block of North Lake Street in Aurora, was charged with one count of aggravated battery to a senior citizen and one count of aggravated battery Wednesday night. The charges stem from the stabbing of a 78-year-old woman at Provena Mercy Hospital Tuesday night.

Police Sgt. Robb Wallers assisted in interviewing Franklin following the stabbing. Franklin was visiting his mother at the time of the incident. She was sharing a hospital room with 78-year-old woman. At some point during the visit, Wallers said, Franklin began repeatedly stabbing the woman sharing his mother's room with a butter knife. The victim sustained multiple cuts to her face as shoulders, a broken nose and a fractured eye socket as a result of the stabbing.

Wallers said police are still investigating what triggered the stabbing.

Wallers said the investigation so far has revealed a claim that Franklin's son was very recently killed, perhaps in Chicago. Police have not yet been able to confirm the death of Franklin's son, Wallers said. However, Wallers said part of the claim includes the possibility that Franklin's family may have told him about the death of his son just before the stabbing incident.

It's unclear where the knife came from, but Provena Spokeswoman Heather Gates said it's possible Franklin obtained the knife from one of the hospital's food trays. But the fact that the stabbing occurred at all is something that may have been avoided if the victim was recovering in a private room as would typically be the case.

Gates said the fact that two patients were in the same room only occurred because the hospital was so busy Tuesday night. Provena Mercy, like all the Provena hospital sites, put patients in private rooms whenever possible, Gates said.

"Despite having the ability to have two people in a room, it actually is not that typical," Gates said. "It just so happened that on the unit this incident occurred on, we had a large number of patients that night.

Gates said the victim is now listed in fair condition as it relates to the injuries sustained in the attack.

She said the hospital has no plans of changing its visitation schedule or screening process.

"This particular incident was unpreventable because of the nature of the attack," Gates said. "The perpetrator apparently didn't bring a weapon into the hospital that we could have screened for. And visitation is part of the recovery process and holistic care that we provide to all our patients. This incident was very atypical. I'm not sure what could've been done procedurally to prevent this incident."

Gates said Provena Mercy is currently in the process of adding even more private rooms to the facility.

Up next for Franklin is a court appearance today to set his bond at the Kane County Branch Court in Aurora.

Stabbing: Provena official says attack was 'unpreventable'