DURHAM, N.C. — Marie Miller said she isn't easily shaken. But on Thursday afternoon, a man broke into the 89-year-old's home and surprised her when she returned from the beauty parlor.
"He came in there, knocked me down and tried choking me," said Miller. "I just thought, 'He's going to get me, but I'm just gonna give it everything I've got.'"
Miller's instincts kicked in and she fought back.
"I would try to pull his hands off from my neck and was trying to kick him and scratch him," she said.
Miller's daughter, Cheryl Shiflett, said just hours after the attack, her mother was well and was back to being a mom.
"The first thing she said last night -- she's on the couch and her mouth is still bleeding like crazy -- she said, 'I need to buy us all dinner, you don't need to cook.'"
A few years back, the mother-daughter team took a self-defense class. In an instant, everything Miller learned came back to her.
"They tell you to scream and to try and pop them in the nose, but I couldn't get my hand up there," said Miller
She also said she thinks that her trip to the beauty parlor may have helped.
"I said it was so fuzzy, with all these curls, that's what helped my head when he was banging it against the bed," she said.
The attacker got away with Miller's car and cell phone, and perhaps a few scratches. However, Miller said she feels like she won the fight.
Miller turns 90 next month. She was the second elderly woman attacked this week in Durham's Northgate Park neighborhood.
Late Friday afternoon, police named a possible suspect in the case. According to police, Maurice Caston broke into a nearby home and stole a television and DVD player.