EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSEXCLUSIVE: West Side Stabbing Victim Recounts Her Attack
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported: May. 27, 2014 11:09 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.VA. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) - A West Side stabbing victim talks with Eyewitness News exclusively. She is concerned that the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office is overwhelmed by the Mark Plants case. And worried her accused attacker may not get the proper punishment.
Betty Whiteley was stabbed in the neck 23 times the day before New Year’s Eve. She's a strong lady, who's back to work now at her realty company on the West Side, but suffering from what will be lifelong injuries. Whiteley will likely be on oxygen the rest of her life.
"It takes ten tanks to get me through the week," said Whiteley, who was brutally attacked December 30th in her office.
Police said it was at the hands of Jerry Smith, a stranger she had befriended.
"I'm a drug addict," Smith told us after his arraignment December 30th. Smith admitted he did it.
"Stabbed in the head 23 times!," Whiteley exclaimed as she described her injuries to us. We went back to into her office, so we could see where it all went down.
"I was just sitting here," said Whiteley at her desk. "He's sitting right here. And we're talking,” she said. “You're having a conversation,” we said. “And we're having coffee," said Whiteley.
"You just had coffee with her, then you turn around and attack her. What were you thinking?,” we asked Smith at the Charleston Police Department. “I wasn't thinking," he said, shaking his head sheepishly.
"So I turned around this way and he's still right there," said Whiteley. Smith got up she said and started leafing through the phone book and standing right behind her. A split-second later, she said his hand was around her neck.
"Right there,” she said, showing me by pushing my hand against her neck.” His left hand is holding you right here?," we asked.
"And I'm going oh God no, oh God no, and I'm sliding down into my chair and then I took both hands and went this way," said Whiteley.
Police said she was stabbed over and over with Smith's own screwdriver.
"I had two screwdrivers laying on my desk,” she said with her eyes wide. “None of them had my blood on them."
"This thumb is taking the brunt of that screwdriver, right?,” we asked as she held her hands behind her neck, showing how she tried to shield herself from the blows. “Yes!," she said.
"Blood is all over the floor and he's got my hand, and he's trying to get my rings off," said Whiteley.
Her injuries are extensive.
"You have a forensic nerve,” she explained. “Which runs down both sides of your ears, down to your diaphragm." And which helps the lungs expand when you breathe. Hers are damaged on both sides. It's debatable she said if she will ever get better.
"And I got the words, could, can maybe, and might,” she said. “Those are all positives,” we said. “Yeah, she replied with smiling. “Over time! I did not ask for this! I was being nice! And I will probably be nice the rest of my life. But I didn't ask to be damaged or hurt or put into a position where I can't live my life.”
"I think attempted murder,” she said is what Smith deserves. “I think he needs to be in jail for the rest of his life."
Since Whiteley's main concern is Smith may get a plea deal or some sort of reduced sentence, while she's left damaged for the rest of her life, we did some digging for her.
Smith was indicted on four counts: First-degree armed robbery, which the penalty starts at ten years and can go as high as a judge sets, there is no cap. 1 count of assault during the commission of a felony and two counts of malicious wounding. The last three carry a penalty of 2-10 years.
So if Smith goes to trial and is found guilty on all four counts, doing the math, he could face a minimum of about 16 years, but parole would likely be an option. If the judge throws the book at him, Smith would likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. Just today, Smith's attorney said he's still being evaluated, to see if he's competent to stand trial. It's been moved-up to August 18th.
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