A Howard County grand jury has indicted an 88-year-old man on manslaughter charges, rather than the original charge of second-degree murder, in the death of a fellow resident at an assisted living facility in Columbia.
Earl L. Wilder, who had been living at Harmony Hall for two years, is accused of attacking James W. Brown on Aug. 17 as the 91-year-old sat on a bench outside smoking a cigarette. According to police, Wilder, a former boxer and retired transit worker, got out of his wheelchair and started hitting Brown in the head. Brown died from his injuries five days later.
Wilder, who family members said and court records showed suffers from dementia, was first moved to a private psychiatric facility and later to Springfield Hospital Center, a state psychiatric facility in Sykesville. According to Wayne Kirwan, spokesman for the state's attorney's office, Wilder will be served there with a warrant in the next few days.