The West Virginia man who was identified by his sister as having savagely beat her into a two-year coma has died in custody, officials said.
Daniel Palmer III was pronounced dead Thursday at a Charleston hospital— one day after he had been taken there for a medical evaluation, West Virginia’s Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Division of Corrections, said in a news release.
The cause of death was not revealed.
Palmer, 55, was arrested on July 15 for attempted murder and malicious wounding after his sister, Wanda Palmer, identified him as her attacker after she suddenly awoke after spending over two years in a coma.
He was uncooperative while he was in custody at the South Central Regional Jail, the statement said.
Wanda Palmer was bludgeoned in the head with a machete or hatchet at her Cottageville home in June 2020, and her brother, who had a violent past with his sibling, had been considered a main suspect by law enforcement.
“Due to a previous violent history between Wanda Palmer and her brother Daniel Palmer, investigators initially considered Daniel a suspect in the assault,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Jackson County Magistrate Court.
Daniel Palmer denied involvement in the attack, telling cops he had not been to his sister’s home in days. A witness later told investigators he saw Daniel in the front doorway at Wanda Palmer’s trailer on the night she was attacked.
Law enforcement officials were notified that Wanda Palmer had regained consciousness and appeared to respond to questions on June 27. Despite suffering severe brain damage, she was able to communicate with detectives one word at a time and told them her brother was the man who beat her comatose.
On July 12, deputies “entered Wanda’s room alone and began speaking with her,” the complaint said. The deputy “asked open-ended questions of Wanda. Wanda indicated (that) she recalled living in her trailer near her mother’s place. She indicated that she recalled being hurt there. She made mention of her head.”
She said her brother was the one who had hurt her. When deputies asked her why Daniel Palmer hit her, she said “he was mean,” according to the complaint.
Wanda Palmer “appeared oriented to her situation. Her answers to questions were coherent and relevant. She asked for prayer.”
Daniel Palmer was being held on a $500,000 bond. After he was arrested it reportedly took hours to get him to cooperate with authorities for an arraignment, which required a magistrate to leave a courthouse and come to the Jackson County sheriff’s office, WCHS-TV reported.
With Post wires