After 7 months, suspect in brutal Pinellas Park hammer attack arrested

Suspect wrote apology letter to victim

PINELLAS PARK - After a 7 month wait for justice, a man who survived a brutal hammer attack has learned his attacker has been arrested.

63-year-old Don McPherson has been recovering and learning how to speak all over again since the brutal attack in April. Last night, he says he was told the man who struck him from behind with a hammer, robbed him, and left him for dead has finally been caught.

"I don't have to worry about him out there, going to hurt anyone else," McPherson said.

McPherson was doing maintenance work at an apartment complex when the attack happened. He said he doesn't remember being hit repeatedly with a hammer, or the next four weeks he spent in the hospital.

"When I came to, I didn't know where I was. By then, it looked like I was going to make it," McPherson said.

The speech area of his brain was damaged, his wife Bonnie says. Even 7 months later, McPherson struggles to remember words at times, and his wife says she does his driving for him.

"He's confused. He can't read. But he's doing ok," Bonnie McPherson said.

While Don was in critical condition, his son joined police in going door to door asking for tips about the attack. Ultimately, it took seven months to find and arrest 24-year-old Eliezer Garcia.

Pinellas Park Police say they found Garcia living in the same apartment where he allegedly attacked McPherson. They also say Garcia confessed under questioning and wrote an apology letter.

Despite all he's been through, McPherson said he believes the apology was genuine.

"I feel bad for him," McPherson said.

Garcia has been charged with robbery with a deadly weapon and burglary. Pinellas Park Police also say he has a prior burglary arrest in New Jersey.

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