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Son accused in near-fatal attack on his 68-year-old mother

James Francis Howard

DALTON, Minn. - A 46-year-old Otter Tail County man is accused of assaulting his mother, inflicting a head injury that's potentially life threatening.

Otter Tail County Chief Deputy Stacy Paulseth said James Francis Howard will likely be charged with first-degree assault and possibly attempted murder.

Howard is accused of an assault that Paulseth said left his mother, 68-year-old Barbara Howard, with life-threatening head injuries.

The mother and son had been living together at her house outside of Dalton on Lakeway Golf Course just south of Stalker Lake.

Paulseth said authorities be­lieve a weapon was used, but wouldn't say what sort of weapon. He also declined to say what brought on the alleged attack.

An ambulance was called to the home at 7:51 p.m. Saturday on a report of a severe head injury, which prompted the medical personnel to call the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office, Lt. Matt McGuire said in a news release.

The elder Howard was taken to a hospital in Fergus Falls before she was flown by helicopter to Sanford Health in Fargo. A spokeswoman said family members weren't allowing the hospital to release her medical condition.

The son was also injured. McGuire said the man told deputies the cut on his neck was self-inflicted. He was taken to Lake Region Hospital in Fergus Falls with injuries Paulseth said were not life threatening.

The son was arrested at 9:20 a.m. Monday but was still hospitalized Monday afternoon, Paulseth said.

Paulseth said Otter Tail deputies were guarding the room until Howard could be transported to the county jail, which he said could happen as soon as today.

A background search on Howard shows numerous misdemeanor convictions but no record of serious violent crimes. He faces three pending felonies in Otter Tail County linked to allegations he impersonated a local doctor in an attempt to obtain Adderall, a prescription stimulant.