Elderly woman describes how 'playing dead' saved her life during - CBS46 News

Elderly woman describes how 'playing dead' saved her life during knife attack

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Source: Henry County Police Source: Henry County Police

During a sentencing hearing Monday in a brutal case of a knife attack, the tearful 74-year-old victim described to the judge what she did that likely saved her life.

Icilda Walters, known by her loved ones as "Tiney," said she pretended to be dead as a stranger attacked her inside her McDonough apartment, beating her and then stabbing her with a knife he grabbed from her kitchen.

Walters' victim impact statement came moments after Gregory Andre Stillwell, Jr., 37, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and aggravated battery. Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero sentenced Stillwell to 40 years -- 20 of it to serve in prison, followed by 20 years on probation.

The attack happened in April of 2016 at Grier Manor, an apartment complex for senior citizens located on Old Griffin Road. According to the victim and prosecutors, Stillwell first approached Walters asking at first if he could borrow a phone and later asking for some water. Walters did not let him use her phone but promised to get him some water.

Soon afterward, Walters left her apartment door slightly open as she took out the trash. When she returned, she said, the man was inside her apartment. When she showed her frustration at his boldness, he attacked her, Walters said. 

Walters showed CBS46 several scars on her hands and face from where she tried to fight off the stranger. In the struggle, Stillwell nearly cut off her ear, leaving it disfigured. 

At some point during the attack, Walters made a decision to stop fighting back. She decided to lie still, close her eyes and pray.

“I said, 'Lord, I know you are with me. Come Jesus and keep me going. Don’t let me die,' recalled Walters, 'because that boy did want me do die!”

Stillwell fled the scene with Walters' purse.

At the time of the attack, according to prosecutors, Stillwell was wearing a uniform from a nearby Hardee's restaurant where he was an employee. McDonough police later found a Hardee's uniform behind the building. Walters' DNA was on the clothing, prosecutors said. Stillwell was high on drugs at the time, his attorney told the judge.

He was arrested two days later.

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