An Ulster County woman is getting a new chance at life after her boyfriend is sentenced to 18 years in Ulster County Court for shooting her in the face. As the victim works to move forward, YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt tells us the bizarre story behind the crime.
KINGSTON, N.Y. -- Lauren Watts left county court with a new sense of self after her former boyfriend Jorge Marrero, 27, was sentenced to 18 years behind bars on Thursday morning.
“Going from hospital to hospital and not knowing whether I was going to live or die and just fighting the whole way through,” said Watts. “I earned the right to finally move on with my life.”
For more than three years, Watts was in a cycle of violence at Marrero's hands. Ten months ago she decided to be the victim for the final time.
“This was a very intentional act, he had her repeat a prayer that was part of a very well known movie and it was after she repeated the prayer for the 10th or 15th time that he then shot her in the face,” said Ulster County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Culmone.
Stemming from the popular movie “The Boondock Saints,” Marrero played out the leading role, shooting Watts and dropping her off alone at a Poughkeepsie hospital with serious facial and head injuries.
“She was blind, she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t help herself to make food. She was very reluctant to tell us what happened when we first met her, she was still telling us it was an accident and she really came around to realizing that she was the victim of domestic violence,” said Culmone.
It’s a lengthy recovery process for Watts, but she's making incredible strides as she's regaining her vision, overcoming abuse and taking a fresh start at life with the help of family friends and officials.
“You don't shoot someone that you love, ever,” said Lauren’s mother, Mary Watts. “She’s been so strong through all of this, and she's taught us not to look back, let's go forward.”
That is exactly what Watt’s plans on doing. Now, she aims to help other victims of domestic violence in the hopes that they can break the cycle too.
“The road I walked on was not a nice one, it was a lonely one and I had to fight,” said Watts. “I’m not letting this stop me.”