JOHNSON CITY — September 21, 2013, was a day Rachel Layer thought would be her last.
Late in the evening, an attacker had entered her residence after prying his way in through the bathroom window, crawled behind where she was lying on her couch, and began choking her, hitting her in the side of the head and pulling her hair. As she screamed for help, Layer, a former East Tennessee State University soccer player and competitive local distance runner, had thoughts familiar to those who have been in similar life-threatening situations.
“I’m going to die, and this is exactly what people think just before they die,” Layer remembers thinking in the blur of violence at her West Pine Street apartment.
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