“They just said you’re not allowed to drink around us, so I just said, ‘Fine,’” Greg Foley recalled. “I just didn’t let them know that I was drinking because it would upset them.” He just closed the door to his room when he drank.
Greg, 56, said that his mother Beverly Foley, 81, asked him to come live with them because his father, Milford Foley, 86, never wanted to go anywhere. They enjoyed a comfortable home on Milano Way in Oceanside, about six miles from the beach. Greg liked the arrangement. He didn’t have to pay for rent or food. “That was part of the deal.” Beverly wanted her son, a self-employed handy man, to be able to save some money.
The arrangement ended less than a year later with two injured parents and an incarcerated son.
Greg claimed his father always had bruises on his arms. “And, like, cuts.” Milford got those from Beverly, according to Greg. “She would grab him by the arms and shake him.”
But three months after moving into his parents’ house in January 2013, it was Greg, not his mom, who was arrested and accused of elder abuse. Greg made a quick guilty plea — to protect his mother, he said — and was immediately released on unsupervised probation.
Five months later, on September 1, Oceanside police came to the home on Milano Way again.
Greg said the day had begun normally. “I got up around 8 o’ clock.” The same as his parents. They all had breakfast and then Beverly and Milford watched the news and read the newspaper. And then, “They start arguing like they always do.”
Greg said he went to his room upstairs and closed the door and watched a golf tournament on television. “I was drinking 7 Up and rum.” Sometime in the afternoon he heard his parents arguing in the backyard. Beverly was telling Milford he had to clean up the backyard. Greg knew, “This is punishment for my father.” The arguing got louder and louder. “I decided to go downstairs and mediate again.”
Greg said he went into the backyard and offered to do the yardwork, but his mother insisted Milford had to do it, so he went back upstairs.
Prosecutors tell a different story. They say that, before leaving the backyard that day, Greg attacked his parents with a hammer, wounding his mother in the face and his father in the back.
The 911 call recording played in court featured a frightened woman’s voice begging for police to come. Then a man’s voice is heard saying, “You’re dead. You’re fucking dead,” and then the line is disconnected.
“I got mad and I did say that on the tape,” Greg later admitted from the witness stand. “I did say, ‘You’re fucking dead’ because I was upset, because now she’s blaming me. It’s a figure of speech. People say it all the time.... I was upset. I shouldn’t have said that. But, you know....”
In Greg’s version of the story, he claimed that when he came downstairs from his room a second time, he found his parents in the kitchen “struggling with a knife.” He said he demanded the knife, and “I pushed her on the shoulder because she wouldn’t give me the knife.” He said his mother’s face became bruised and bloodied when she fell against the kitchen counter.
“I said, let me help you, because you’re bleeding,” Greg alleged. “She said, ‘Let me alone, because I’m calling the police....’ She’s talking to the police. And I’m standing there, and I’m holding the knife so it’s secure. And the conversation turns that I’m attacking her.”
Oceanside police arriving at the scene fired rubber bullets at Greg. “It’s more painful than you can imagine,” he told the jury later. But he didn’t drop the knife. Instead, he ran into his room and looked in a mirror and “I stuck the knife in my throat.” But his stab attempt failed. The puncture was only superficial. “It’s not like in the movies. The knife is so dull. I’m trying to do it. It wasn’t working.”
The blood on the knife was later found to match Greg’s.
Eventually, Oceanside police fired one .223 caliber round that passed through a small wall inside the home, through Greg’s shoulder, and then into the ceiling of the two-story townhome. Greg was running at the top of a stairwell at the time.
At the hospital, Greg’s blood-alcohol level tested at .23 percent, nearly three times the legal limit for driving.
Back at the house on Milano Way, police found Beverly and Milford badly injured. A bloodstained hammer was found on the scene.
Investigators later found bloody handprints and droplets leading from a puddle of blood in the backyard into the kitchen, where the white phone resting on the kitchen counter had thick red smears on the numbers nine and one. Blood on the phone and on the hammer matched Milford’s and Beverly’s.
Milford passed away a little more than a month after the incident. Beverly survived her injuries and was the first to testify at trial in late July 2014.
The jury found Gregory Foley guilty of two counts of elder abuse when he attacked both his parents using a hammer and knife as deadly weapons, plus one count of violently resisting arrest. Foley is next due in court on August 21, when the prosecutor will decide if he wants to pursue one count of attempted murder on Beverly, because the jury did not come to a unanimous decision on that one count.