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FIRST LOOK: Aiken Inmate Who Died was Accused of Stabbing Roommate in February


A Monetta woman who was found dead in her cell at the Aiken County Detention Center Friday morning was awaiting trial for attempted murder.

Dorothy Mae Bernard, 59, was arrested in February for allegedly stabbing a 67-year-old man who she was living with.

Shortly before 5 a.m. Friday, Bernard was found unresponsive in her cell and pronounced dead on scene, Coroner Darryl Ables said. No foul play is suspected in her death, but SLED is continuing with the investigation, the coroner said.

In the attempted murder case, the victim received more than 30 stitches at a local hospital in February after Bernard allegedly attacked him with a knife.

According to reports, witnesses said the suspect began stabbing a 67-year-old man while he slept on the couch. A 19-year-old inside the home called 911 around 8:50 p.m. Feb. 12. Deputies said the victim was badly injured and had been stabbed repeatedly in his left temple and both arms and hands. According to reports, deputies did not photograph his injuries because the victim needed “urgent EMS care to possibly save his life.”

Bernard’s mental issues were the only explanation the victim gave for the stabbing, deputies said. They found her lying on the living room floor with her pants around her ankles. According to reports, she had a bloody face and yelled, “He hit me.”

Bernard has a history of arrests, including January charges of assault & battery and trespassing. Also, she served a 48-day sentence for a stolen vehicle in 2008 and 15 days for criminal domestic violence in 2014. She also was convicted of shoplifting and trespassing in 2012 and was released without a jail sentence.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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