The victim of a random knife attack outside a Bowie Target store has expressed relief that her injuries weren't worse, as well as anger that her attacker was recently released from a secure hospital facility.
In an exclusive interview with News4's Shomari Stone, Mary Anne Appling said that she was putting groceries into the trunk of her car when she was attacked from behind by 55-year-old Antoinette Starks, who stabbed Appling twice in the back and once in the head.
"I feel blessed to be here," Appling said. "It could have been 100 times worse."
Police say that security footage taken from an adjacent Shoppers Food & Pharmacy showed Starks stealing a bag of knives. Police allege that two of those same knives were later used in the attack on Appling.
"I think that's what makes me the most mad, is they let her leave the store," Appling told News4.
Starks was released in August from the Clifton Perkins Hospital Center, a secure mental health facility in Howard County. She had been sent there after stabbing two women in a Nordstrom store at the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda in 2005. In the intervening weeks, Starks had been living at a group home in Bowie.
"[I'm] shocked and outraged," said Appling. "I can't believe they let a woman like this back on the streets."
Representatives from Shoppers and the Clifton Perkins Hospital Center declined to speak to News4, as did staffers at the group home.