A Florida woman who was stabbed 32 times by her former boyfriend says she doesn't see the near-fatal attack as "anything bad anymore" because the paramedic who saved her life is now the love of her life.
Melissa Dohme's unforgettable night in January 2012 is a story of endurance and love after ex-boyfriend Robert Lee Burton Jr. stabbed her repeatedly in Clearwater, Fla. Burton pleaded guilty to attempted murder in a Pinellas County courtroom Tuesday after he was ruled competent to stand trial.
Prior to Tuesday, Dohme, 21, had not seen Burton since Jan. 24, 2012, when he walked away from her lifeless body with a knife in his hand.
"The look in his eyes wasn't something I will ever forget," Dohme told ABC News Tampa, Fla., affiliate WFTS-TV. It was evil. He had my murder on his mind and I could see it."
Burton, 20 at the time of the attack, initially told the judge Tuesday he would only plead guilty if he could serve less than 10 years in prison. The judge dismissed that request and it looked as if the attempted murder trial was about to begin.
But Burton then shocked the courtroom by pleading guilty after a discussion with his attorney. No date has been announced for his sentencing.
Dohme appeared in court with her boyfriend, Cameron Hill, a Clearwater firefighter-paramedic. Dohme says she never would have met Hill if it not for the attack.
"I don't even want to be upset about what happened to me because I met Cameron out of it. So I can't even look at is as anything bad anymore," she said.
On the day of the attacked, two witnesses intervened and stopped the stabbing, according to police. They were able to provide a description of the attacker, who fled in a vehicle. Burton was later arrested for the crime as Dohme fought for her life with stab wounds to her face and neck.
"At the time she was real bloody," boyfriend Hill said. "I, for some reason, didn't think it was the last time I would see her."
The pair did eventually see each other again and they've been together ever since.
"Considering all the things that have happened to her, she is a very strong and determined girl and she's doing everything she can to get back to a normal life," Hill said.
In addition to her blossoming relationship, Dohme has graduated from college and become a nurse since the attack.
Outside of court Tuesday, Dohme used her personal story to condemn domestic violence.
"My message to any woman that's in an abusive relationship is that you're not alone and there is a better life after abuse," she said. "You deserve to be loved and respected and never, never should a man lay a hand on you and it's not acceptable by any means."