DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Daytona Beach Shores police officers have arrested a man accused of beating an elderly couple. On Thursday morning, Zachary Brownlee, 49, of Daytona Beach, was given a public defender as a judge read the charges that he faces, including: home-invasion robbery, two counts of aggravated battery on person over 65 and possession of cannabis.
Investigators said Brownlee attacked 77-year-old William Keener and his wife, 78-year-old Sidney North-Keener, during a robbery at the Lexington Inn around 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Keener's 9-year-old adopted son alerted hotel staff to the alleged robbery and they called 911.
Officers said Keener had been punched in the face, and his wife was punched repeatedly in the chest and stomach. They said Brownlee had been talking to the victims in the pool area, then followed them to their motel room a half-hour later. After borrowing the family's phone, police said Brownlee yelled for them to give him money. When they said they didn't have any, police said Brownlee beat the elderly couple. Officers later caught up with Brownlee as he was riding a bicycle on South Peninsula Drive, and the victims identified him as their attacker.
Brownlee, who police called a "habitual felony offender," has been to prison five times since 1989 and was most recently released in July of this year after serving 12 years in prison for robbery, carjacking, and impersonating a law enforcement officer. He is being at the Volusia County Jail on a $71,000 bond.