HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - The survivor of a brutal double stabbing that claimed the life of his girlfriend is still recovering from his massive injuries, including having acid thrown in his face, which left him blind.
Armen Gaylon Crawford, 42, was stabbed multiple times and his girlfriend, Latisha Pilgrim, 21, was stabbed to death, during an attack, which occurred shortly after 8:30 a.m. Sept. 6 at Crawford's trailer at 108 Skyview Terrace, located in a trailer park off Whittington Avenue.
Their alleged attacker, Fielding Vaughn Kimery II, 38, was arrested at the scene and later charged with first-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison, criminal attempt at first-degree murder, punishable by up to 30 years, and first-degree battery, punishable by up to 20 years.
Kimery, who lists an address of 106 Ridgeway St., remained in custody Thursday in lieu of $1 million bond and is awaiting trial in Garland County Circuit Court. He is set to be arraigned on the charges Nov. 19.
In an interview with The Sentinel-Record, Crawford said Thursday that there is a gag order in the case with Kimery, whom he described as "an acquaintance," so he was limited in how much he could discuss about the incident itself.
"We were both asleep and had acid thrown in our faces," he said, noting he was stabbed between eight and 15 times all over his upper body to the point "my guts were outside my body."
He had a severe laceration to his neck area where "he was trying to cut my throat," and his kidney was actually located in the yard outside his residence and later brought to Mercy Hospital Hot Springs where doctors were able to put it back in successfully. "I'm not even sure who brought it in," he said.
Crawford said he had to undergo eight hours of emergency surgery and Dr. Patrick Dolan "put me back together again." He said he really wanted to give credit to Dolan for the work he did. "It was a miracle."
He said he didn't remember that much after the attack started, but that his neighbors called 911. "They told them there were people laying bleeding in the yard and I finally had to talk (to the dispatcher) myself to get them to come."
According to Hot Springs police reports, officers responded to a report of a fight and found Crawford and Pilgrim outside the residence, both with multiple stab wounds. They noted Kimery was also on the scene, sitting on the steps outside, but did not appear to have any injuries.
Pilgrim was pronounced dead at the scene by Garland County Coroner Stuart Smedley and the report notes she had multiple stab wounds to her body and her left arm was "nearly severed."
Crawford told the Sentinel-Record (http://is.gd/2wxQa2 ) he didn't find out she had died until almost three weeks later because they kept him sedated.
After the initial surgery at Mercy, he contracted pneumonia and was airlifted to UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock where doctors were able to "clear up the pneumonia."
He said at one point, doctors were moving a feeding tube from his nose to his stomach and there was a complication that almost caused him to die.
"They called my family because they didn't think I was going to make it through the night."
He said that they were able to stop the bleeding and he eventually recovered. He noted his body weight dropped from 170 to 126 during the whole ordeal, but he was soon doing better and moved back to Mercy.
He said he has been out of the hospital for about two weeks and "I'm feeling great. Really great. Still have some aches and pains and I had PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) right after."
He said he had "bad nightmares and night terrors" about the attack and other things, but they gave him medications to help and "I'm sleeping normally now."
Both of his eyes were injured by the acid and Crawford has learned his left eye "is not getting better." He said he has partial vision in the right eye, but he will be getting a double cornea transplant soon.
"The corneas were so badly burned I won't get my sight back naturally," he said.
He said he is being treated at the Jones Eye Institute in Little Rock and had an appointment Thursday to get a cornea transplant in his left eye, which he noted, "might not be a permanent one. They're going to see how it does. It could be rejected. But they have to put one in because my cornea is getting thinner and thinner."
He hopes with the double cornea transplant "I will be able to see again someday."
He credited his volunteer home care nurse, Tammy Dodd, for a lot of his recovery. "She's been an angel to me. She does everything for me before I even have to ask. She's just wonderful."
Crawford said he is wearing a yellow wrist band that Pilgrim's mother gave him that says "Peace" and is "just trying to make it one day at a time."
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