TIGARD, Ore. (KOIN) — Charlotte Simons was sitting in her recliner watching TV in her Tigard home on Super Bowl Sunday when, she said, her roommate went into the kitchen and wrapped cellophane over his hand.
“Then he came to me and stood in front of me and he said, ‘I am going to kill you,'” the 74-year-old told KOIN 6 News. “And he put his hand over my face … and he started to shove on me and I was fighting at that time.”
Court documents showed 71-year-old Leo Miller moved into her home last summer after answering an ad on Craigslist. Simons said she needed a roommate to help pay the rent and bills.
“I don’t have enough income, and the rent is so high up the seniors are really having trouble,” she said.
The night of the attack, investigators said Miller got extremely upset about how much he has to pay for the power bill. He tried to suffocate Simons by putting the cellophane over her nose and mouth.
To get him to stop, she decided to play dead.
“You shut everything down, you start breathing real shallow,” she said. “After I did that and he thought he had killed me.”
Initially that worked, but she said when she tried to escape Miller pushed her back into the recliner.
“He hit me so hard I saw stars,” she said, “but I couldn’t get out of the chair. And then all of a sudden it went over backwards and he went over with the chair. He hit the buffet.”
That gave her just enough time to press the button on the medical alert device she wears under her shirt.
“When they came on I said, ‘Help me! Help me! He’s killing me! He’s killing me! I need an ambulance and I need the police on the double!'”
Officers arrived and arrested Miller, who is behind bars facing multiple charges: attempted murder. 2nd-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and strangulation.
Simons said she doesn’t feel brave. She just did what she had to do to survive.
Now her concern is finding a new roommate.