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83-year-old Clifton Park man accused in ax attack had shown dementia signs, sheriff told

83-year-old Clifton Park man accused in ax attack had shown dementia signs, sheriff told

The man allegedly attacked his wife early Monday at their home
83-year-old Clifton Park man accused in ax attack had shown dementia signs, sheriff told
William D. Barber
Photographer: Saratoga County Sheriff's Office (inset), Shutterstock (background)

CLIFTON PARK - The 83-year-old man who allegedly attacked his wife with an ax early Monday morning had shown signs of dementia "for a while," but it had gotten worse in recent months, the wife told Saratoga County Sheriff's deputies in the aftermath of the attack.

The woman, Densie R. Barber, spoke to deputies as she received treatment for her injuries at Albany Medical Center, according to a written statement filed in court. She survived the attack with injuries to her head, face and hand, and had been discharged from the hospital by Tuesday, officials have said. 

Barber's husband, William D. Barber, 83, now faces charges of first-degree assault, a felony, and misdemeanor weapons possession in connection with the 12:30 a.m. attack at the couple's residence on Blue Spruce Lane.

Densie Barber, 73, recounted to deputies the lead-up to the attack as well as the attack itself. She also touched on her husband's mental state in the months leading up to it.

"Bill has been exhibiting signs of dementia for a while now, but it has gotten worse since March 2019," Densie Barber's statement reads. 

Those with dementia may experience agitation, delusions and hallucinations, according to the Dementia Society of America.

Densie Barber indicated her husband had seemed upset over something minor about 12 hours prior to the attack. The evening went by uneventful. She made dinner, gave him his medication and then went to sleep around 10 p.m., according to her statement.

The next thing she knew, her statement reads, the bedroom light came on, her husband made another minor accusation, referenced the medications doctors had given him, and hit her with the ax, she told deputies.

He then walked away, her statement reads. She followed. He told her he wouldn't hit her again.

She grabbed a cover for her wound and called 911. Deputies arrived quickly, she said.

Her husband still had the ax as the first officer arrived. The officer ordered him to drop it and he put it down.

Densie Barber told deputies she wanted her husband confined to a hospital, afraid he'd hurt her again if he were allowed to return home.

William Barber was arraigned and released to return to court later. An attorney for him could not be reached Thursday and further information on his status could not be determined.

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