He stabbed his wife numerous times with a hunting knife at the Walmart, in Hohenwald, Tenn., but soon Airrick Clifft will be walking free.
Stabbing survivor Samantha Clifft said she wears her scars proudly but believes justice was never served.
“I almost died, I should be dead,” Samantha told News 2 in an exclusive interview. “I shouldn’t be sitting here right now talking to you.”
Samantha still lives in the nightmare.
“I was stabbed with a 5-inch deer hunting knife,” she explained.
Just days after leaving her ex-husband, Airrick, he walked into Samantha’s place of employment during the early morning hours of June 16, 2016, and stabbed her eight times, severing two arteries.
“He was trying to kill me — he wanted me to die,” Samantha explained.
Airrick was arrested but bonded out five months later.
“This whole thing has been a joke, the case has been a joke,” Samantha told News 2 on Monday.
Almost three years after the attack, Samantha said she finally got a subpoena for the end of January, but was convinced by the local assistant district attorney that a plea deal would be the best option.
“I agreed to one year in jail and then eight years supervised probation,” she explained. “I understood he could counter that, but I figured they would kind of run that by me.”
Instead, she says the ADA settled on the counter offer of only six months in jail and 10 years probation. The five months Airrick already served was applied to his jail sentence, so now he will only be behind bars for another month.
“[It is] kind of unbelievable in a way,” Samantha said. “Our justice system doesn’t fight for the victims; they fight for the criminal. In two weeks, he is going to be out free doing whatever he wants to do, and I have to constantly [fear] he could walk into where I’m at and just murder me and my family.”
Now, Samantha wants to try and help other domestic violence victims.
“I feel like if I had gone public and talked to people and shared my story, I would have gotten more support. I would have probably got an attorney,” Samantha said. “You know, I would have probably got a lot more help.”
Samantha also urges others struggling in violent relationships to get out and seek help. She regrets not speaking up about her relationship, and now, she says, it’s worked against her.
If you or anyone you know needs help, call the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-356-6767.