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Christy Martin: Escaping Domestic Abuse & Near Death

His voice is calm. "I need to show you something," he says.

It's 5:31 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, at 1203 Foxtree Trail, a stucco ranch in the sleepy suburban neighborhood of Apopka, Florida, when James Martin takes a 9-inch Buck knife and plunges it into his wife's torso.

At first, Christy Salters Martin, world champion boxer and the only woman boxer ever featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, doesn't know she's been stabbed. The blade's that sharp. The jab's that quick. She'd been sitting on the edge of the bed, fighting off a migraine, lacing up her sneakers in preparation for a run.

Martin had gotten one shoe on before her husband strolled into the room, his face frozen, his hips shifting in a coy dance that obscured whatever he'd hidden behind his back.

I need to show you something.

Police reports indicate, after the first stab, Jim thrusts the knife in again, and again, three times down Martin's side until a fourth puncture rips into her left breast. Stunned, Martin rears back, tumbling on the bed, kicking at Jim. He slices at her leg, dragging the knife along her calf muscle. Eight inches of flesh detached from the bone, flapping onto her ankle, dangling by a thread of skin.

At some point in the frenzy, Jim slashes his own palm on the blade and drops the weapon. Seeing an opening to get away, Martin tries to heave herself off the mattress but stumbles, falling at the foot of the bed, where the pair wrestle until Jim pins her and begins beating Martin's head into the floor and on a nearby dresser. Martin's ear snags, nearly ripping off. It's then, as Jim hovers over her, his fingers gripping and yanking her hair, that Martin feels the weight of the gun in the pocket of her husband's denim shorts.

She immediately recognizes the 9 mm Taurus as hers, a pink pistol she usually kept stuffed between the mattresses. As Martin paws at the firearm, desperately trying to wrangle it free, the clip falls out, thudding on the carpet. Jim then takes the butt of the gun and slaps it across Martin's jaw.

Stabbed, beaten and broken, Martin looks her husband in the eye, cries out, "Motherf---er, you cannot kill me."

At that, Jim rises, stands over the body of his wife of 20 years and fires the pistol, discharging the single chambered bullet into her chest, 3 inches from her heart.


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