A Delaware woman has revisited her traumatic three-hour torture at the hands of her child’s father in the hope that she can persuade other abused women to escape their torment.
Emily Hill, 26, had already been beaten by partner Wayne E Carter Jr, 25, during their rocky and tumultuous relationship, but had kept returning to him in the belief it would be better for their son.
But on the night of February 12, 2016 Carter pushed her beyond her limits with a brutal and sustained act of violence that almost claimed her life – and ended up getting him 25 years in jail.
Now the Newark woman is speaking out about the terror she endured, in the hopes that she can persuade other women to escape while they still can, Delaware Online reported.
Carter, then 24, had been haunting Hill, then 25, in the months before his three-hour reign of terror, as their relationship deteriorated.
He would appear behind her in her rearview mirror as she picked up their four-year-old son, Harlem, from daycare.
He would stop her in stairwells and send her tumbling down.
At one point he sneaked up on her as she sat in her car, then reached in and slammed her head into the steering wheel, then hit her car as she rolled up the window and called 911.
But by the time police turned up, Carter would be gone and so would Hill’s desire to see him behind bars.
‘At that point, I was just trying to have a relationship with him for our child and that was it,’ she said.
‘But it got to the point that I would stop going home because I didn’t want him to show up at my house.’
That’s exactly what happened to Hill on February 12, however – as she climbed into bed she saw Carter stood in her bedroom doorway.
She had almost persuaded him to leave when her cellphone went off. Carter immediately became infuriated with jealousy, demanding to know who was calling her and wanting her password.
Then the beating began.
He threw Hill to the floor and began to pound her face, then strangle her until she blacked out.
She said she ‘never imagined that strangulation would actually be as peaceful as it was. And it was almost like an answered prayer at that point because I thought it was over.’
But this was only the beginning.
Over the next three hours, Carter choked, whipped, beat and stabbed Hill, telling her: ’I'm going to make you so ugly that no one ever wants you again.’
‘I’ll never forget his face at that moment and the rage and the anger that I saw in his eyes,’ she said.
‘It didn’t feel like that was the same person I had loved for a year and a half. At that point, I felt like a stranger had come into the house and was doing this all to me.’
He choked her repeatedly with a tote bag strap and a gold chain from a light fixture, then tried to smother her with a pillow.
She fought back, struggling free and running for the door, only to be dragged back into Carter’s sadistic grasp.
He whipped her with a cable, beat her until her eardrums ruptured, and stabbed her in the arm with a kitchen knife, before using its bloody blade to shear off her hair.
Finally, Hill was able to persuade him to leave her alone, promising him that she would blame an unknown robber for the bruises, welts and cuts all over her body.
Carter kissed her and told her he loved her. Then he wiped the blood from the kitchen knife on his trousers, put it back in the knife block and left.
But Hill had finally been pushed too far, and knew she could never forgive the man who brought her so close to death.
She did what so many abused women are afraid to do: Co-operate with the police, testify against their abusers and let the law give them the protection they need.
‘Initially, everything is heated but shortly thereafter, it all falls apart,’ said Detective Michael Watson, the Newark cop who investigated Hill’s case, of most abuse cases.
‘The victim goes back to the abuser or you’re not getting the cooperation you need for a prosecution.’
That can be fatal. In 2015, six people died from domestic violence in Delaware alone. Nationally, 1,300 women die every year due to violence by partners, according to the CDC.
Hill stayed the course, even as Carter tried to use friends to relay messages to her before his trial.
That strength was paid off when Carter finally went to court.
Prosecutors had hoped he might get 15-20 years in prison, at best. But the judge handed down a heftier sentence.
‘On the best day, I never thought we would get 25,’ Watson said. ‘But I believe the judge saw through him … how cold and calculated he was, and that any act that he would put on in the courtroom was just that – an act.’
Given that a sentence of 25 years is rarely seen outside of a murder case, the result astounded prosecutors. And Hill has also been granted a protection from abuse order that will last her entire lifetime.
When you choose to forgive those who hurt you, you forever take away their power… Forgiveness is also a sign of letting go. and that’s what I’m doing today.
Hill says that she has now forgiven Carter, who was suffering from mental health issues that he never got treatment for.
And she allows him to see their son once a month in visits to Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, saying the boy should be allowed to decide for himself if he no longer wants to see his father.
But Carter’s parents take Harlem to see the felon, as Hill doesn’t want to see her abuser again – and she admits that the going is tough.
‘It definitely is hard looking at my son every day,’ Hill said. ‘I see the face of the same man that almost killed me.’
Forgiving Carter has helped her move on with her own life, she said, although she doesn’t accept the abuse he inflicted on her.
In a statement she read at Carter’s sentencing last month she said: ‘When you choose to forgive those who hurt you, you forever take away their power.
She added: ‘Forgiveness is also a sign of letting go,’ she said, ‘and that’s what I’m doing today.’
If you are suffering from abuse at the hands of a partner – male or female – contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline on (800) 799-7233.