One cold day in November, a late Saturday evening, he appeared at the bedroom door. Daniel had formerly been growing his hair longer, past his shoulders. He had now shaven his head, completely clean. He had stripped down to just his jeans, and was in his bare feet. His eyes were as dark as the black of night on a new moon.
He stood in the doorway to the bedroom for a moment, leveled eyes with me as I lie on the bed reading, and I knew. I saw the look in those black eyes, and I knew what was about to happen. I had seen that look before, just a few months earlier.
Daniel lunged at me. He grabbed a pillow, jumped on top of me, and tried to asphyxiate me. With all my might, and whatever my adrenaline would allow me to do, I fought with all my strength. I began kicking and clawing at him. I had clogs on my feet, the type nurses wear and I was using them against him. While he was fighting to get them off of me, I managed to break free from him and off the bed.
My father was a Sheriff’s Officer. From the time I was a small girl, he had always taught me little tricks should someone try to attack me. When I was a young woman, I learned martial arts defense. It was now, these thoughts came back to me. I couldn’t scream, non-vocal and non-verbal from the accidents.
I managed to fight Daniel off and push him away. As I recount this story I know that adrenaline pumps through a person when fear for your safety is occurring. I started to run as best I could out of the bedroom and down the second-floor hallway. He ran after me and caught up to me. He grabbed me by the neck and began to strangle me.
The hallway wasn’t very long and he had me cornered in the bathroom, the end room facing the front of the home. Three times, he had his fingers and hands around my neck. Three times, I remembered to put my fingers between his. But he did have me down on the floor. This was a fight for my life.
When I managed to get up again, and started to move away from him, he caught me. He threw me against a solid oak door that led to the attic in the home. I hit my head, and started to slide down. I saw stars for the first time in my life. I knew I needed to focus. But here was the key to how I did manage to focus. Daniel spit on me as I slid to the floor.
He spit on me. Where I grew up, spitting on someone is the ultimate insult. For some reason, altho I knew he was trying to kill me, that he spit on me was humiliating and angering me. He then turned and ran down the stairs. I sat there for a moment, and remembered I needed to focus.
I stood up shakily, thought about the phone downstairs, and went quickly down the flight of stairs. As I picked up the phone, I hit 911. Luckily, in this county, 911 patches into the home address from where the call is made on a landline. I managed to mumble that a man is trying to murder me. As soon as I said that, Daniel grabbed me from behind, and dragged me into the kitchen. I held the portable phone but Daniel had no idea that I was holding it.
He had me around the waist, and in his right hand brandished a butcher knife. He held it to my neck and asked me if I wanted it to my neck or to my abdomen. I had brought the phone with me, and placed it down on the table as he was dragging me into the kitchen. I wanted 911 to hear my death recorded. That’s what I thought was going to happen.
There’s more to what happened in my kitchen that late November night as Daniel held me by my waist with his left arm and brandished a butcher knife in his right hand against my neck. I knew I needed to convey to 911 that an emergency was at hand and Daniel was not of sound mind. 911 also needed to know that Daniel had weapons and he had used them in his attacks on me.
My mind was racing and I’m sure this only took seconds but I yelled to Daniel, “Where did you get that butcher knife?” He answered back loudly, still holding me around the waist, with the butcher knife at neck height, “I got this butcher knife to mother-fucking kill you…”. That’s what I had hoped he would answer. I prayed that 911 heard what Daniel was screaming in my ears. All I could think about were my three children and I wanted them to know that if Daniel murdered me he was the one responsible and how he did it. I needed him to admit his intent for 911 if I was going to die.
I knew if he answered that one comment perhaps I could say one more and distract him. At this point, in this position, a person will say and try anything to save their lives. This is what I said to him. “Who is going to clean my blood from our white kitchen floor? Your Mother?” From the back of my mind I was able to focus and I used my resources to send the knife flying one way, have his left arm open to release me and have his body semi-slump all at the same time.
I flew around the table, grabbed the phone and headed for the front of the house. The 911 operator was still on the line. He asked me if I was ok. I told them Daniel now was holding a belt and he was attempting to strangle me with it. The operator told me there were five patrol cars out in front of my home, the officers were about to break in and he was letting them know I was at the front door attempting to get out now.
The rest seems surrealistic to me as the front door opened and I seemed to be lifted out and taken to safety by an officer. The lights of the patrol cars were focused on the front of the porch and the house was now brightly lit. Officers were in position with guns ready. Daniel appeared at the door of the home, saw the officers, the cars, the guns pointed, and dropped the belt. He raised his hands up in the air and said, “Arrest me…I’m trying to kill my wife.” He was never married to me. He was delusional in his thought process.
I’m here today. 911 sent officers speeding to my home. They did break in. Daniel,arrested on straight $30,000 bail, did attempt suicide in jail that night. He spent 5 months in jail, his mother hired an attorney, Daniel was released with this sentence: time spent, an anger management course and 364 days of probation.
The day he was released, when his victim should have been notified ahead of time, the warden called me after Daniel was released, apologizing, saying he come into work and didn’t know Daniel had been released earlier. I found out just as Daniel and his mother were walking up the flight of stairs to my bedroom. Sandra had kept a key to my home.
Life with the psychopath and his mother. The mother that always thought her son was perfect. That her son could do no wrong. I know she brought him back into my home after his release from prison to torment me. She didn’t want him in her home. Now, she knew what he was capable of performing.
He never should have been allowed back into my life. Without being able to speak, without being able to verbalize fully my rights should have been guarded more carefully by the law. But as a victim, they weren’t.
Very few were schooled in Daniel’s psychotic behaviours back then. The prison psychiatrist accurately diagnosed him as a psychopath. But Sandra and her son had originally eluded me. They fooled the neighbors. They fooled all those around them. It’s what people with these illnesses do. It was only Sandra Smith’s word against mine. And my word wasn’t there then. It was only hers and his.
And then my own personal prison-time began with Daniel and his mother.
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