Her own husband paid to have her killed. Instead, the Portland woman killed her attacker with her bare hands. Now, almost eight years later, her ex could walk free again.
She hopes sharing her own desperate fight for life will inspire other women to fight back too.
"His last words on this earth were 'you're strong,'" Susan Walters said.
She was strong enough to survive a 14 minute attack in her own home. She was strong enough to kill the man who was trying to kill her with a hammer.
"Not having any clue why he was in my home, I knew, I could feel his intent to kill me," Walters said.
That was back in September 2006. The ER nurse came home to Edward Haffey waiting inside.
"We were within inches of each other. He said 'you're tough,'" she said in court almost exactly a year later.
Walters struggled, bit back and eventually grabbed the hammer. Haffey fought through it all. In the moment that Walters had the upper hand, and when she had her attacker around the throat, she offered him an escape.
"I told him 'tell me who sent you here and I will call you an ambulance.'"
Haffey never said and later died.
Walters got the answer she was looking for anyway. Her then husband, Michael Kuhnhausen, had paid the attacker $50,000.
Nearly eight years later, he'll go before a parole board and could get out later this year.
"Although I've forgiven my ex-husband for what he became, and what he did to me and all those who he loved, I cannot forget what he's capable of," Walters said.
She's ready to fight again if she has to.
"I didn't choose my attacker's death for him," she said. "I chose my life."
She hopes her story can inspire other would-be victims to do the same.
"If you feel like, 'wow I don't feel like I can do that.' You can. You're stronger than you know," she said.
After the attack, Walters agreed to a plea deal with her then husband that put him away for 10 years. She says she probably wouldn't do the same again. But, she will approach the parole board with her concerns now in hopes of keeping him away if he is released in September.
Copyright 2014 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
Woman who killed hit man hired by husband has message for survivorsMore>>