JONESBORO -- The victim of a near fatal stabbing at a Jonesboro church says the attack lasted all of two to three minutes. But, her scars will last a lifetime.
On Friday, May 22nd, a man walked into Saint Paul United Methodist Church and attacked 52-year-old Vickie Jo Mueller. He stabbed her four times and stole her purse. Tonight, while Roy "Ray" Anthony awaits his next court date... Mueller speaks out about her ordeal.
Cards and letters arrive daily from all over the country to Mueller, better known to her friends as Jo, after an attack at her church where she's worked for five years as a secretary.
"I'm cut from right below the belly button all the way up to the bottom of my breast bone and all the way around the back of my back," demonstrates Jo.
Scars tell the story of struggle.
"I protected myself," said Jo. "I put my arms over my head because he started beating my head first."
The man arrested in the case: 47-year-old Anthony allegedly showed up at the church that Friday morning asking for gas money. Jo told him the church wasn't able to give him any and he asked to use the restroom.
Jo was here working on the church bulletin at the copier, which has since been removed when her assailant came in and started hitting her about the head. She tried to escape out this door when he slammed her into it so hard you can see the indentation left in the wall.
"911, What is your emergency?" asked the E-911 dispatcher on the day of the attack.
"The only thing that kept running through my head was get to the phone. 911. Get to the phone 911 and I got up on my elbows on my desk and dialed 911," said Jo.
She passed out shortly before help arrived. Her blood pressure bottoming out--Jo was close to dying.
"My lung was collapsed on this side and my heart was cut into and my liver was cut into," said Jo.
Not once does she remember being stabbed.
"I did not realize that until I'd come to in ICU and they told me I'd been stabbed four times," said Jo.
Nine units of blood, hours of surgery, and hundreds of stitches and staples later in her head and torso, Jo is home with her husband and daughter recuperating.
Reading messages from friends.. and reflecting on the man that did this to her.
"I feel sorry for this man that attacked me. He doesn't know --he just doesn't know the joy of knowing Jesus...and that's sad," said a tearful Jo.
Sad for Jo is also the idea of changing the open door churches have had in favor of security.
"I hate it that something like this happens in the church and we have to put locks on our doors. It bugs me something terrible," said Jo. "But if it's what we need to do to keep people safe, because we can't let this happen. This is wrong."
It's expected to take six months for Jo Mueller to recover from her injuries. She does plan to go back to work at the church again. However, her office will be moved and series of security measures will be in place by then regarding access to the building.