Richmond County deputies kicked in the door of an Augusta home earlier this month and saved a woman from being suffocated with a gas-soaked towel by her estranged husband, according to a sheriff’s report.
Frank Ward Jr., 61, allegedly went into his estranged wife’s residence on Lisbon Road at 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 12 while she was sleeping. She heard a noise, woke up and called out to see who was in her residence.
That’s when Ward violently pushed open her bedroom door and struck the victim in her face as she tried to run, according to the sheriff’s report.
“Ward began choking her and pressing a towel that he had soaked in gasoline over her face. Frank Ward then held her down and demanded to know who she had been talking to on her cell phone,” the report says. They had been separated for two months and were going through the divorce process.
She tried to call 911, but Ward grabbed her phone and hung it up. Still, Deputies Matthew Beach and Logan Rose arrived at the house and heard her screaming, “Please don’t kill me,” followed by a gunshot. So, they kicked in the side door and entered.
They found Ward straddling the victim while holding a silver pistol. They drew their pistols and ordered the suspect to drop the gun and lay face down.
The victim said Ward tried to burn her alive. He wiped the gas-soaked towel over her body and told her he was going to kill her and “burn her up,” the report says.
He allegedly struck his estranged wife with the pistol, pointed it at her head and pulled the trigger. But she moved her head before hearing a loud bang. She broke free and ran to the kitchen, but Ward tackled her as she tried to flee, grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face into the tile floor multiple times, the report says.
She was struggling with Ward when deputies arrived. He shot a second time before the officers got inside. She suffered bruising to her neck and face, a bloody nose and mouth, and swelling to her forehead. She also complained of her throat and eyes burning from the gasoline.
Ward, who has a listed address of 906 Todd Ave., North Augusta, was charged with aggravated assault, burglary, firearm possession by a convicted felon and hindering person making emergency call.
The worst part: The victim had dropped off the couple’s 1-year-old daughter at his North Augusta residence the day before. He had the child for weekend visitation. But Ward allegedly left their young daughter at home alone to come and try to kill the victim, a report says. Officers went to the North Augusta home and found the girl alone, asleep on a bed.
Ward remained in jail Monday under no bond.
Violent felon. Ward is a violent felon with a history of armed robbery and aggravated assault. As Columbia County deputies tried to arrest him for a robbery at The Greenway Store in Evans in 2010, Ward led them on a chase. Deputy G.R. Lopez was putting down spike strips when Ward “tried to hit him with his truck,” a report says. Ward later wrecked his Dodge Ram into another deputy’s patrol car before being captured.
In those cases, he served less than a year in state prison for armed robbery, weapon possession by a convicted felon, terroristic threats & acts, and two counts of aggravated assault, according to records from the Georgia Department of Corrections.