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Published May 09, 2011, 12:03 PM

Mother dies in Fargo hospital after alleged attack by son

FARGO – The 68-year-old mother of a man accused of fracturing her skull with an 18-inch machete has died. Barbara Howard of Dalton, Minn., died about 5 a.m. Sunday at Fargo’s Sanford Medical Center, according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office.

By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM

FARGO – The 68-year-old mother of a man accused of fracturing her skull with an 18-inch machete has died.

Barbara Howard of Dalton, Minn., died about 5 a.m. Sunday at Fargo’s Sanford Medical Center, according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office.

Her body has been transferred to the Fergus Falls (Minn.) Lake Region Hospital morgue at the request of the Sheriff’s Office.

James Francis Howard, 46, has been charged with attempted murder and assault for the April 23 attack. Several of her fingers were nearly cut off as she fought back, according to court records filed in the case.

The mother and son lived together on Lakeway Golf Course. James Howard told medics he was aiming to end her suffering from cancer and diabetes, police records report.

After the alleged assault, James Howard tried to kill himself, first by hanging and then by cutting his throat, Otter Tail County deputies claim in a criminal complaint. He was hospitalized after the incident before being taken to the county jail.

In an initial court appearance, Howard’s bond was set at $1 million with-out conditions or $500,000 with conditions.

After being taken to Sanford Medical Center, Barbara Howard was placed on life support and an artificial breathing device, Lt. Matt McGuire wrote in the criminal complaint.

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