89-year-old to alleged attempted rapist: “You come to the wrong house”

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You don't live 89 years without overcoming a trial or two.

"When you're born and raised through The Depression and you get through that, you can survive anything,” she said.

And this 89-year-old, who we are not identifying, is no exception.

"I'm a tough old bird," she said with a laugh.

But after what happened in her Denune Avenue home May 23, even the daily setting of the sun can trigger terror.

"I make it pretty good through the day. It's just the nighttime. I just dread to see nighttime come," she said. “I have these flashbacks and nightmares. It's like I see somebody peeping in the window, or somebody's a knockin' on the door."

It was around 4 a.m. when she was startled awake by a stranger in her bedroom.

"He just comes in and said, ‘I'm here to rob you.’ I said, ‘You come to the wrong house,’" she said.

She told him she didn't have any money.

"He said, ‘Well I'll rape you then.’ That was the words that come out of his mouth. Tore all of my clothes off me and threw me on the floor," she said.

Bruises and bandages on her hands and arms show the violence of the attack and the ferocity with which she fought back.

"I fought him with my fist. I kicked him. I slapped him in the face. That's when he picked me up and throwed me. He slapped me full force right in the face,” she said. “And I said, ‘Where is your mother?’ And I told him God was watching everything he was doing, and I said, ‘He'll get you, buddy!’"

Asked what made her fight, she said, “I didn't want to die yet. And I kept thinking about all the other women that this might happen to if something wasn't done with him."

Their physical struggle caught the eye of her neighbor across the street.

"My son came running in the house hollering, 'Mom! I think (her) house has been broken into!'” Shirley Bolen said.

Even in the dark of early morning, Bolen and her son could see in, thanks to an arrangement they'd made to look out for each other.         

"I asked her to leave a light on in that kitchen so that we could see over through there. And thank God we did," Bolen said.

Within minutes, Columbus Police swarmed the scene and arrested Leon Alexander.

"Them policemen looked like angels to me when they come in there," the victim said.

Out of the hospital but still in pain, she is now staying with relatives.

When she’s well enough, she said she plans to return to her home of 55 years.

“I promised God if he would make a way for me and my husband to buy a home, I would live and die there,” she said. “My husband has made it. He lived and died there. And I don't want to break a promise to my savior."

As for her attacker, she said, “All I got to say, I'm going to pray for him. I'll pray for him. Because he's going to need all the prayer he can get where he's going."

Leon Alexander is in the Franklin County Jail on charges including attempted rape.