Flanked by her mother and 16-year-old daughter, Marti Hill grew emotional as she greeted friends and family members a month after she was attacked in her Prairie Village home, allegedly by a handyman.
“It’s OK,” a friend said after giving the 44-year-old woman an emotional hug. “You can cry. Let it out.”
Dozens of supporters — including family members who flew in from as far away as Arizona, Texas, California and Hawaii — gathered for a fundraiser early Saturday at TMA Fitness in Overland Park, where the 5 foot, 100-pound Hill has taken kick boxing lessons for the last year. Their message was one of unconditional support and love after Hill’s attacker slashed her throat, broke her jaw and her skull and left her for deadcrumpled at the bottom of her basement stairs.
Mackenzie Hill looked at her mother with love.
“I just think there’s a reason she’s still here with us,” she said in a small voice, fighting back tears. “I’m not sure what that is, but we’ll find out.”
Steve Hill, the woman’s ex-husband, leaned in and gave his daughter a supportive hug.
“Because all 16-year-old girls need their mother,” he said.
David DiBella, Hill’s kickboxing instructor, said he couldn’t be prouder of his star student.
“The message that Marti has given all of us through her actions is that self-defense is a mindset and a mentality that no matter what you are going to overcome the impossible odds that you are facing,” he said. “Marti had created a wonderful life for herself and her family, and in no way, shape or form was she going to let anybody take that away from her.”
Brian K. Pennington, 26, of Leeton, Mo., has been charged with attempted first-degree murder in the attack. Pennington is next due in court on Dec. 21st in Johnson County District Court. All money raised at the event will be go toward helping Hill pay her medical bills.