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Elderly Woman Reveals How She Survived A Terrifying Attack - She Played Dead

An elderly woman in Georgia was attacked by a knife-wielding stranger who broke into her apartment. The victim played dead to get the younger man to leave her body alone during the vicious assault and robbery. She says that faking death was what saved her life.

Icilda Walters, a 74-year-old Henry County resident known to her loved ones as 'Tiney', said the stranger approached her at the senior citizen complex where she lived. The attacker, later identified as 37-year-old Gregory Andre Stillwell, asked his victim if she could loan him a phone. She told him no, she didn’t have a phone to loan out.

He later approached her and asked her for some water. Walters promised to get him some and returned to her apartment. She brought the drink back out to the man, then returned to her apartment alone. Later, she left the door ajar while she brought out her trash. When she came back from throwing out the garbage, she found Stillwell in her apartment.

She was angry that the man had been so bold as to enter uninvited and ordered him to get out, and that's when the younger man attacked the elderly woman. He beat her, then grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed her. He nearly cut off her ear, leaving it disfigured. Walters struggled, and finally got the idea to stop fighting.

Walters collapsed and began to stay very still. She closed her eyes and prayed. “I said, 'Lord, I know you are with me. Come Jesus and keep me going. Don’t let me die'... because that boy did want me do die!"

Stillwell then fled from the scene with the elderly woman's purse. The woman called authorities and reported the attack. She told officers that he was wearing a Hardee's uniform. Police found a Hardee's uniform behind the building, and matched the DNA on it to Stillwater.

Police discovered that the suspect worked at a nearby Hardee's restaurant and arrested him two days after the crime. According to his attorney, the man was high on drugs when he committed the crime. "This is no excuse, but from age 17, most of the time he’s been in and out of jail for petty, small crimes, and at the time that this occurred he barely remembers what happened,” the attorney said.

A month after the crime, Walters and some members of her family were cleaning and they found Stillwell’s Hardee's name tag under her stove. It was a horrifying reminder of the brutal attack.

Stillwell was sentenced to 40 years, of which he is required to serve a minimum of 20 years. After his attack, people at the senior citizen home lived in fear. But life is now calming down, even for Walters.

“May God forgive him for what he has done,” Walters said. “I wonder if he don’t have a mother, sister, grandmother, and family to think about, for he is not a God-fearing gentleman.”

She still feels brave enough to live independently, despite what happened to her. “I feel safe,” she said. “I have the good Lord on my side.”

Source: CBS 46
Photo: CBS 46 Screenshot

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