Billy J. Lewis, 26, was charged with first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary after an altercation with Steven Shepherd, 35.
According to Harlan City Police officer Danny Ball, he was able to interview Shepherd before he was flown to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn.
Ball said Lewis reportedly knocked on the door of Shepherd's residence on Perkins Hill. When Shepherd answered the door, he was pepper-sprayed by Lewis.
"An altercation broke out between the two, and they fought through the house and continued to the kitchen, where Mr. Lewis was able to somehow get hold of a hammer and struck Mr. Shepherd several times in the back of the head and the ribs," Ball said. "Mr. Shepherd sustained a ruptured spleen and possibly damage to one of his lungs. His skull was fractured and required 12 staples."
Ball said Shepherd told him that Lewis came to his door and when he opened it, Lewis demanded money. Shepherd allegedly told Lewis he didn't have any money, and the fight then took place.
"After the fight, Mr. Lewis left the scene and Mr. Shepherd was found in his front yard by some local people in the area," said Ball.
Harlan police officers began searching for Lewis and obtained a warrant for his arrest. A vehicle he was driving was located in Cawood on Monday night. After Lewis learned the police were looking for him, he turned himself in at the Harlan Police Department on Tuesday morning.
Ball said Lewis had a different story.
"Mr. Lewis basically said he went to Mr. Shepherd's residence to complete a drug transaction, which went afoul," Ball said.
Lewis was lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center with bond set at $50,000 full cash. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Ball said he also served a warrant on Lewis that was obtained in a prior case with no apparent connection to this incident.
He was charged with theft of a stolen credit/debit card, two counts of theft by unlawful taking and theft of identity of another without consent.