Crime & Courts

Gaston amputee’s prosthetic leg stolen in near-fatal machete beating

Holly Dawn Mesker
Holly Dawn Mesker Gaston County Sheriff’s Office

A Gaston County amputee was severely beaten with a machete, had his prosthetic leg and car stolen and then was left to die, according to authorities.

Holly Dawn Mesker, 32, of Fieldcrest Place in Stanley, conspired with her ex-husband in trying to kill Aaron Sanders at his Gaston County home just outside of Stanley, Gaston County Police Capt. Curtis Rosselle said. He said Patrick Wayne Christopher, 43, of Newton, nearly beat the man to death before leaving with Mesker in Sanders’ car.

Mesker was placed on a domestic violence hold Friday, meaning there was a previous romantic connection between Mesker and Sanders. The incident occurred in the early hours of Thursday, Rosselle said.

“You have an assault on a handicapped person, somebody coming into his house to assault him and the level of the beating that he endured,” Rosselle said. “It’s disturbing but I’m very uplifted by how quickly we resolved this and got some people charged.”

Sanders was taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center. Rosselle said Sanders provided police enough information to charge the suspected attackers.

According to arrest reports, the pair made off with Sanders’ Jeep Cherokee, his cellphone, his wallet with $600 in cash, a new welding machine and two vehicle titles. On his Facebook page, Sanders said the titanium prosthetic leg the two are suspected of stealing was treated as a “souvenir” and that he had yet to recover his stolen property.

Sanders said he was tied up during the attack, then beaten with a Taser-like device, a baseball bat and the machete. They left him with a hole in his hand, a broken arm and leg, and covered his body when they assumed he was dead, Sanders posted on Facebook.

Rosselle believes the burglary happened after the attack, and that the beating stemmed from an argument between Mesker and Sanders.

“I think they went there to hurt him and then took stuff,” Rosselle said.

Mesker and Christopher each face an attempted first-degree murder charge. Mesker also faces felony counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, first-degree burglary, larceny of a motor vehicle and larceny after breaking and entering, as well as three conspiracy counts.

Christopher, who is being held at Gaston County Jail on a $1 million bond, faces the same charges plus a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Mesker has no known criminal record in North Carolina.

Christopher was released from prison in 2000 after serving nine years of a 23-year term for second-degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon.