GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Kent County woman testified Monday she played dead after her estranged husband beat her for hours in order to survive a failed murder-suicide.
Marshall Brabo, 65, faces attempted murder charges after allegedly beating his wife Pamela with a crowbar, wrench and dresser drawer.
Pamela Brabo was on the stand for more than a half-hour during a Monday preliminary hearing, her face still battered as she described the attack that nearly killed her.
"I remember him hitting me in the back of my head and at that point everything went black. And I remember telling myself, 'Don't black out, don't black out,'" she testified.
She said she went to her estranged husband's home on Courtland Drive NE in Rockford for dinner on Feb. 15. The talk turned to their pending divorce. Suddenly, she said, he announced his intentions.
"'I don't know how to tell you this, but tonight we're both going to die,'" she recalled him saying.
He attacked her for about three hours, she testified, with the crowbar and wrench, and also choked her.
Pamela testified she tried to fight back, striking out to hit in Brabo in the face, but that he just hit her in the head again.
Then she realized there was only one way to save herself:
"Just to try to prove I was dead, play dead. ... That's what I had to give to him. I had to show him, but I had to somehow be able to calm myself down."
And playing dead worked, even when he returned repeatedly to check on her.
"Breathing as shallow as I could, and pray to God that he wouldn't see," she testified.
She stayed still, she said, even as he put a cloth to her face.
"He wiped my face with that cloth and I could feel all the bones moving in my face, and it hurt so bad," Pamela testified, her hands shaking as she gestured toward her face.
Brabo then passed out after taking between 30 and 40 sleeping pills in an what police say was a suicide attempt. That's when Pamela fled.
"It looked like he was asleep. I crawled out," she said.
Monday, the judge ordered Brabo to stand trial in Kent County Circuit Court. He remains held in the Kent County jail on $1 million bond. He has also been ordered not to have contact with Pamela Brabo.
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