Grandmother of disabled man heartbroken after his death

Police: Kevin Wilkes dies at hospital after housemate found sitting on him

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The grandmother of a man who died after police said his housemate was found sitting on him in a group home said she's heartbroken.  

Freddie Lee Williams, 51, is charged with aggravated abuse of a disabled adult in the death of Kevin Wilkes, 32, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

Williams was arrested by police after caregiver, Shadale Martin, went to work Saturday night and found the 300-pound Williams sitting in Wilkes' lap, police said. 

RELATED: Man accused of abuse after disabled man dies

Wilkes wasn't breathing and was unresponsive when Martin found him, police said. He was rushed to St. Vincent's Riverside Hospital where he died early Sunday morning, a police report said. 

Wilkes' grandmother, Juanita Forman-Lee, told News4Jax Wednesday that she found out that the suspect had hit her grandson more than once. 

"He was just loving. He wouldn't hurt a fly," Forman-Lee said. 

She said she doesn't understand why anyone would want to harm Wilkes, who was mentally disabled, couldn't talk and had autism and epilepsy. 

"He could not take care of himself. He could not protect himself. He had to have 24-7 care," Lee said.

For less than a year, Wilkes had lived at R&R Loving Hands, an agency for people with disabilities. 

Owner of R&R Loving Hands, Sophia Rasher, told police when Williams gets upset, he takes it out on Wilkes. She also said Williams has sat on Wilkes three times in the past and has been seen punching and dragging Wilkes around.

According to the Sheriff's Office, investigators met with Martin who said she saw Williams behave violently four or five times. She also told police that she witnessed Williams sit on Wilkes three other times. 

In statement to police in March, Rasher said Williams sat on Wilkes and became very angry. Once police arrived, they witnessed Williams punch Wilkes in the face. Williams was Baker Acted and taken to UF Health at Jacksonville.

Williams was also Baker Acted in December for violent behavior and raising his fists to police, according to police records.

Forman-Lee said no one at R&R Loving Hands every told her about the previous incidents. 

"If you know this man is dangerous, you get rid of him or you tell me, 'You need to move your grandson because I can't protect him,'" Forman-Lee said. "If I had to quit work, I would've done that and got him to a place that was going to protect him."

According to Forman-Lee, Wilkes and Williams had previously lived together a different home for six years, and there were no documented problems there. 

"I know you're not supposed to ask, 'Why him?' He was such a gentle soul, loving soul," Forman-Lee said. 

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Wilkes' family with funeral expenses. 

The director for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Barbara Palmer, issued a statement about the case Tuesday:

“APD’s top priority is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of individuals residing in facilities licensed by our agency. The individual in question has been arrested and taken into custody by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. This loss of life is extremely heartbreaking. Following this tragic incident at R&R Loving Hands Group Home in Jacksonville, APD has launched a thorough review to determine if there are any health and safety concerns in this home. Additionally, the Department of Children and Families is conducting a comprehensive investigation. Pending the outcomes of the APD review and DCF investigation, the agency will hold the facility fully accountable for any mismanagement that endangered the health and safety of its residents."


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