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Woman survives brutal attack from husband, travels around world to see sentencing

Woman survives brutal attack from husband, travels around world to see sentencing
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 5:22 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A victim of domestic violence who survived a brutal attack from her husband faced him in court on Tuesday.

On January 6, 2021, Matthew Stallings forced his way into his estranged wife Elaine Kinn’s home in Wilmington. He stabbed her about 15 times before throwing her off the balcony — all while their three-year-old son watched in terror.

“We anticipated this would be a homicide and I would be prosecuting this without the benefit of ever getting to know Elaine,” said assistant prosecuting attorney Amy White.

Kinn had other plans as she had another reason to survive.

“I just wanted to get back to my son,” said Kinn. “I was fighting for that every single day trying to get out of that hospital. They originally said I was going to be there the whole month. I was like, ‘Well, you have not met me yet.’”

After life-saving surgery, Kinn left the hospital in just nine days. Her battle was not yet over as she then had to learn to walk again. Since then, she and her son have moved to Norway. She flew back to southeastern North Carolina to deliver her impact statement in court Tuesday morning.

“I needed to do this for me,” said Kinn. “If I didn’t come here and say my statements, say my peace — what was the point of the trip, you know?”

The courtroom was packed with people showing up in Kinn’s support. That crowd included active and retired law enforcement involved in her case as well as friends and family.

Stallings pled guilty to first-degree attempted murder, first-degree burglary and assault with a deadly weapon in front of a minor on Tuesday. Detectives say he never denied what happened the night of the attack. In fact, he told his family he believed he murdered his wife that same night.

A judge sentenced Stallings to 15 years behind bars. During that sentence, he will have to go through mental health and substance abuse assessments. The judge also ordered he be on house arrest for the 12 months following his release.

Kinn and her young son are still both dealing with the trauma from that attack but hope it will subside over time. District attorney Ben David believes her bravery and this moment of justice can strengthen other victims of domestic violence.

“What they’ll find is a lot of resources within law enforcement, this office and the community if they simply take that step,” said David. “These are preventable crimes, but it really requires victims advocating for themselves in many times to prevent further victimization. If not for them, then for their children.”

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