Early on the morning of Tuesday, August 17, 1999, Juliette Jones woke to a stranger massaging her feet.
At first, she thought her legs were merely tangled in the sheets. The summer heat made sleep difficult, and the air conditioner chugging in Juliettes window was losing its battle with the sauna outside.
Juliette was 32, the single mother of a 4-year-old daughter, Molly. She and Mollys father, Shane McFall, had recently ended their on-again, off-again relationship. Her job at a nonprofit, serving families affected by domestic violence, kept her busy and made good use of her masters degree in social work.
She lived with her daughter in a rental house on the 4400 block of Eaton, just a few blocks from State Line Road. The modest, one-story houses on Eaton have porches, and Juliette was friendly with most of her neighbors. Her landlords, an older couple, lived next door. Weekend evenings often began with neighbors bopping from porch to porch, cracking beers, doors wide-open.
Something that summer — maybe the breakup with McFall or summertime nostalgia — had propelled her into a phase of youthful abandon.
A night or two earlier, Juliette had thrown a party at her house for her co-workers, neighbors and friends. They had cooked out and stayed up late. Molly was visiting her grandmother in her rural Missouri home.
Tired, Juliette figured the bags of beer cans and party trash in the garage could wait until morning to be dragged to the curb. She drank a couple of the leftover beers in her refrigerator and went to bed.
It was not yet light outside when Juliette realized that a man, not her sheets, was holding her feet. At first, she thought it was Matt, a late-night hookup who sometimes called after the bars closed. But Matt never showed up unannounced.
Juliette leaped out of bed. As her eyes adjusted to the dim room, she saw that the man who had wakened her was no one she knew. His pants were unzipped and hanging around his knees.
Then she noticed the knife. She thought, Oh, fuck.
"Just be quiet," he said. "Do what I say, and I won't hurt you."
She slept naked, so there were no clothes for him to struggle with. Juliette sank back onto the bed, and the man got on top of her.
I'll make a human connection with him, and then he'll realize I'm a person and he'll stop, Juliette thought. She stared up into the man's eyes as if to ask, Really? You really want to hurt me?
The man put a pillow over her face.
"Please," Juliette protested. "Please — I have a 4-year-old daughter."
"Oh," the man said. "I'm not really into that."
As the intruder strained over her, Juliette retreated into herself, waiting for the rape to be over. He pulled her to one side, moving her body perpendicular to the bed. Then he stabbed her, driving a kitchen knife in just above her left hip.
Juliette tore the pillow from her face in time to see a horror-movie fountain of blood spray from her stomach. "What are you doing? You said you wouldn't hurt me!" she said.
"You saw my face, and now I have to kill you."
Until the moment he started stabbing her, he had called her "ma'am." Juliette says, "He was the nicest rapist you'd ever want to meet." Two of her friends and a reporter laugh. This is her way of taking care of her listeners, buoying them up with humor when the story gets grim. Answering a question about whether her assailant had used one of her own knives to attack her, she smiles and says, "Oh, no. I never had good knives, even then."