And why the people who were watching me knew that. Because they knew the story.
And they should have had the sense to leave me alone to heal.
I will only add these facts to the following truth of what happened.
- I was unconscious for a half hour after the assault. I woke up, thankfully, and crawled over 150 feet to the back of my friends house to call 911 from the house phone. My last memory was having my shorts torn at. I was not raped. But I thought I had been because that was my last memory before losing consciousness.
- I crawled back to the front of the house because I did not a want the fire department to rip apart my friends front door.
- I grabbed the phone out of the detectives hand when he called my brother. Mike HAD to hear my voice. He had to know I was alive. We both lost too much far too young.
- My ex did NOT respond to Louis or to my brother when they called and texted him to take Stella. Because the doctors were not sure if I would recover. And if I did? Would I be whole. He and our dog had an amazing and special relationship. I can understand him not helping me. But to not help her? To ever RESPOND to my brother who he knew so well? What an ugly person he turned out to be. Thankfully, people will know ‘just’ how ugly his spirit is ‘very’ soon.
Stephen Lewis and Nancy Egan I really don’t mind you guys watching me anymore. Because now I know…you are both not that bright. If you wanted to hurt me? You would have by now. But you can’t afford too financially.
The truth is more of a threat to you than anything else.
And I will always tell the truth.
This is what was read into the court record – This. Is what I endured and survived. This – is what you have harassed me over and over again about. Stephen Lewis and Nancy Egan. Hope you are both happy to harass someone over this level of violence.
My statement to the court…
I would like to thank the court the opportunity to relate the effects this brutal, violent, and senseless crime had on my life and those of the people around me who love me.
I would also like to thank the officers and the detectives of the Philadelphia Police Department and the U.S. Marshall Service for their diligence in apprehending the defendant. I know they would say they were just doing their job. But doing it with such efficiency gave me the opportunity to return to my work which I love so much. And a relatively normal life without fear very quickly.
On the night in July 25, 2014 I was viciously attacked by the defendant. I suffered a life threatening injury in the form a a subarachnoid hematoma, also known as a brain bleed. I’ve known two people in my life that this injury killed. I also suffered severe front to back and side to side concussions. The doctors think the side to side occurred when I was kicked in the head after I lost consciousness. My skull was bruised so badly on either side that for three months every time I turned over when I could sleep, I was awakened with pain.
The defendant punched me right eye with such force that the orbital bone or eye socket was nearly shattered. The fat pocket behind the eye which allows a sense equilibrium was ruptured. My right eye will always sit slightly lower and farther back because of that punch.
For five months I had to wear an eye patch on that eye. For five months I could do nothing that required full eyesight. None of the hobbies I had always enjoyed such as knitting or cooking. I couldn’t drive a car. Get on a train to go visit friends.
And I had to go back to riding a bicycle for my job. I had to ride 26 miles a day in city traffic with only one good eye. I was dizzy most of that time.
I was punched with such force because I had the audacity to fight back. The defendants hand was around my throat from the minute he kicked the door in. He just kept screaming “Where’s the money bitch?” over and over. Not realizing that because he was choking the breath out of me I was unable to answer.
The other injuries occurred after I was unconscious. The head injuries, the shattered teeth, and the deep wounds to my bottom lip that required 24 stitches to close and have left permanent numbness as well as requiring additional very painful surgery with more to come. There was also a laceration on my right eyelid that required two stitches and has left a permanent scar.
My left hand was injured most likely from being stomped, it was left so swollen it looked like a club. And the numbness did not dissipate for over 3 months. There was also an injury to my upper left chest that was so severe it left me unable to take a full deep breath with out searing pain for close to three months.
I was admitted to the trauma unit and spend two days in the Neurology ICU, two days in the regular ICU and one more day in the hospital before going home. I left the hospital early because I missed my dog Stella so terribly. I was worried about her the whole time.
I left my apartment that night to run next door to my friend and neighbors to get food for his dog who I was watching. That’s what I was doing there that night. Working. I was doing my job.
I left and because the defendant had been watching me all day, and stalking my activities, and then viciously attacked me. Stella, my neighbors dog Greta, and two of my clients were left alone for over 24 hours before my neighbor Louis returned and could get them and take care of them.
Stella was deeply depressed for close to six months. She mostly slept under my bed and only came out to eat. It wasn’t until January that she started to play again, sleep on my bed, and come to me for affection.
I have spent close to two decades rescuing dogs. Rehabilitating them. Making them feel safe and secure and then finding a forever home for them where they will be loved and cared for until they breathe their last breath.
Stella was rescued at 7 months. This is the only time in all those years where I feel like I let a dog down. And she’s my own family. I also know for a fact that if she had been with me that night and you had
aseen her? You would have turned around and walked away. Because I know people like you, more afraid of a large dog than of a person.
The financial cost of this senseless violence was a 76 thousand dollar hospital bill, a 26 thousand dollar dental bill, close to 5 thousand dollars in corrective surgery, and upwards of 5 thousand dollars in doctors visits that is still climbing. If I had not had insurance? This attack would have bankrupted me.
That is just what the cost was to me. There were additional costs in the thousands for my neighbor. The repairs to his home, and Serve Pro had to come in to clean up all the blood that ran the length of his house from the foyer to kitchen. I had to crawl from the front of the house to the back to dial 911 to get help. That carpet is still stained.
All of this plus the cost of these court proceedings add up to close to 150K. Plus whatever it will cost to incarcerate the defendant for his sentence. Over a laptop that was probably pawned for less than $50.
The emotional cost to myself, my family, my friends, and my clients is just as high. When the detective called my brother that night I grabbed the phone out of his hand getting blood all over it and said “Mike has to hear my voice, he has to know I’ll be ok” Our family has had far too many late night phone calls where it has meant that someone was dead. Both our parents died by the time I was 31. So, even though he could barely understand me. At least he knew I was alive.
What he had to see when he arrived at the hospital is some thing I’m sure he’ll never forget. When my friends and clients came to visit the nurses had to warn them of how bad it was. That they would not recognize me.
In fact it has taken an entire year for me to look almost normal again. My face will always carry permanent scars. When the defendant punched me with such force there was a nerve on my face that was damaged. The upper right quadrant of my face remains numb. As do the taste buds on the upper right part of my tongue. Because of this I can not eat certain types of foods. I have lost 70lbs and 10 sizes. I was a size 14 when this happened. I am now a size 4.
My other passion in life besides dogs and my job has always been food and cooking. I will never have that the same way again. I know other people would consider these first world problems. But cooking and eating with friends have led to some of the happiest times in my life. Sharing food and friendship and conversation is a simple happiness. It’s one I can still have. But it will always be different from now on.
The recovery process was long and arduous. It took a month of me staying with my friend because I could not be alone with a head injury. It took a month before I could eat any kind of solid food. It took two months before I could think straight because of the head injury and concussion. It took 4 months before I could do anything except sleep and go to Dr.’s appts. It took five months before I could use both eyes.
No one was there for the everydayness of recovering. No one was there to see the days when I sat up in bed and put my feet on the floor and I just couldn’t stand up, so I went back to sleep. No one saw me sobbing in the middle of the night because once the Tylenol wore off I was in so much pain all over again and I had to wait another hour or two before I could take more.
No one knew that I dropped my keys dozens of time a day while going in and out of clients homes. And no saw the time I got so frustrated when I dropped them getting in to my own apt that I punched the door frame over and over bruising my already damaged hand because it was still numb and I couldn’t feel it.
No one knows that there were times I begged God for five more minutes with either of my parents so they could tell me it was going to be ok and that I would get through this.
I have gotten through it. But it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my whole life. I am most angry because the defendant stole my time. Time I could have spent working, enjoying my life, helping my friends, and volunteering.
That’s the worst part of all of this. I’m a really nice person. If the defendant had just asked me for anything I would have just given it to him. Instead I almost lost my life, and have spent close to year recovering from this viscous and violent attack that netted him a laptop.
The other person in this situation who was most deeply affected besides me is my neighbor and friend Louis Backe and his dog Greta. Louis is not here to speak for himself. He died on May 26 at the age of 48. He would have been 49 on June 1st. It was his home that was invaded so violently. The home that was his Grandparents. The home he loved so much that was his sanctuary.
He was a very generous, gracious, and kind man. He opened up his home to so many people. Friends and family. My own friends and family stayed there when they traveled here to Philadelphia to visit me. Many wonderful evenings were spent by so many people in his home. We will all carry such warm and happy memories of those times we made food together and had amazing conversation that was filled with laughter.
He was also very generous of his time and spent many hours volunteering to bring healthy lunches to the children in our city’s school system. And as well helped raise money for Alex’s Lemonade foundation to help find a cure for pediatric cancer.
Louis never spent more than a dozen nights in his own home again after the attack. He developed health problems because of what happened. And that is what ultimately caused his death.
His mother is left without a son, his seven brothers and sisters are left without a sibling, and his over a dozen nieces and nephews are left without a man who was an amazing Uncle. Hundreds of people all over the world are left without a friend whom we loved and cherished so much. His dog Greta is left confused and depressed over the loss of a man who adored her.
As far as I am concerned my friends blood is on the defendants hands.
So much more was taken from myself and so many others besides just a laptop. So many people’s lives are changed forever because of the defendant’s choices and actions. And this was not the first time he’s done it. It was the 15th. This is a 3rd Strike.
I am not in the courtroom today out of fear. I am not here because my work – which is my joy in life – is more important to me than listening to whatever hollow apology the defendant may offer. He’s has had many chances since last July to take responsibility for his despicable actions. I’ll never think about this sad chapter again after today.
I choose instead to honor the memory of my friend Louis by doing what I do best. By living a well lived life because he can’t anymore. By being generous and kind as he always was. That’s why we were such good friends. We had that in common. No one will ever take that quality away from me.
Thank you again for the time to address the court.