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Women share tales of violent crime

By Mary Madewell
The Paris News

June 02, 2005 - Two women shared their innermost feelings about how violent crime affected their lives before about 100 probationers at a Lamar County Adult Probation Department meeting Tuesday.

Martha Duke of Paris and Teddy Price of Clarksville spoke as a Victims Impact Panel. All adult probation participants have to attend at least one panel meeting.

“I am on a long endless road,” Duke said. “It’s been a while since I have been on this road. It has its ups and downs, but it is always difficult.”

She spoke of the murder of her daughter at the hands of men she said were on parole or probation at the time.

Duke described what her family was like before the murder.

“We were a happy family with three children growing up on a farm,” she said. “We had a lot of fun enjoying our children and worked hard to get our children an education.”

The Dukes had two daughters and a son. After graduating college, the young women returned to Paris where they were employed at a local hospital and lived in an apartment at the time of the murder.

“In Paris you don’t think of anything really bad happening,” she said.

One morning one of the girls did not report to work. The hospital called the mother.

“At that moment I felt I had been hit in the stomach,” she said. “But I am a rational person and I thought she was fine — that she probably overslept.”

By the time the mother drove to work, her husband was waiting at her office to tell his wife of their daughter’s death.

“I immediately stepped out of being the person I was into something else,” Duke said. “I couldn’t fathom what had happened — you immediately go into shock.”

“You can’t imagine how terrible the scene was. She had been stabbed repeatedly, sexually assaulted and left for dead,” the mother said in a breaking voice.

“She managed to get out of the apartment and try to reach the door bell of the older couple who lived next door,” Duke said. “She didn’t make it; she died on the steps.”

The mother explained that children on a school bus saw her daughter and told their bus driver.

“He drove around the block again in disbelief, and then called the police,” Duke said.

The mother shared about her life after her daughter’s death.

“We thought if something happened you worked really hard to fix it, but there is something about the word ‘death’ and you know that is never going to be fixed,” Duke said.

The wife shared that her husband died four years afterwards of a heart attack.

“I believe from grief and stress,” she said.

Price spoke as the victim of an assault and kidnapping that occurred at her home late one Sunday evening almost 10 years ago after she had returned from her parents’ house.

“I flipped on the light and heard feet running at me,” Price said. “He whirled me around, turned off the light and I felt a knife at my throat.”

Price said she didn’t know she was a screamer because she had always been independent and sure of herself.

“I thought I could defend myself in all things,” she said. “This was something new for me. He said if I didn’t stop screaming he would hurt me. He didn’t know how bad he had hurt me already.”

Price spoke in detail of the evening. She said the man forced her to drive him to an ATM where he removed $325, the machine maximum.

“So many thoughts go through your mind,” she recalled about the drive. “I thought about what I would do if I saw a policeman or another car. I decided I wouldn’t do anything and just hope they would see the fear on my face.”

Price said the man then forced her to return to her home where he tied her hands and feet, gagged her and drove away in her car.

“He told me he would be back in about 20 minutes with some of his buddies,” Price said. “As soon as I heard the car drive away I stood up and found I could hop around but realized I could not go down my steps without falling.”

“I pulled and tugged and got one arm free,” she said. “It seems like it took 100 years to get my feet untied. I ran screaming to my neighbor’s house.”

She called the police and then spent about four hours “being questioned and grilled.”

The man did not return to her house.

“I finally remembered the license plate number of my car,” she said. “I was so scared I couldn’t think straight.”

Police arrested the man about 40 miles away. He is now serving a 40-year sentence with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

“That gives me plenty of time to get out of Dodge,” said Price, who had formerly lived in upstate New York. She moved to Clarksville to help when her parents became ill.

Price shared about her life after the attack.

“He had been in my house for a long time and had access to everything that I owned — he had been through everything and then he waited for me.”

She explained, “That did a number on me and really scared me.”

Since then, Price said she sleeps with her bedroom door locked and never opens the windows. For about two years she carried a gun with her everywhere. She has installed an alarm system at her house.

Price said she is still angry.

“He has hurt me in lots of ways, and I want to hurt back. But, they won’t let me.”


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