When Amy Rezos exchanged her wedding vows with the man she loved it was the happiest day of her life. She and Chris Rezos were high school sweethearts and seemingly destined for each other from an early age.
The thought that he would ever hurt her in anyway never entered her head. She felt safe and secure in his arms. But just months after getting married her 'perfect husband' started to change, becoming a control freak and mentally abusive towards her.
Each day she had to endure daily criticism of nearly everything she did from loading the dishwasher to doing the laundry. Nothing seemed good enough for her husband and he often accused her of being a bad mother to their two little boys David and Michael.
She stuck by him but after ten years of marriage, and at the end of her tether, Amy had had enough. She plucked up the courage to ask her engineer husband for a divorce.
Amy knew it would be difficult but never thought she was in any kind of danger. And she certainly never dreamed her request would trigger the violent response that followed.
Her once loving husband would try to murder her three times on three separate occasions. The media would come to dub Amy as “the woman who just refused to die”.
‘Love dies after a while’
Her husband’s impulse to control her started very early on in the marriage.
"Even while I was planning our wedding he wanted to approve every minute detail. Most guys are prepared to let their girls make all the arrangements. But not Chris. He wanted to okay everything,” Amy said. And it only got worse after the wedding.
"He was relentless. Nothing I did would please him. He was always on my case,” she said.
"There is only so much a person can take and love dies after a while ... I was the one who instigated the divorce. I couldn't take anymore and wanted my own life back.”
Chris wanted full custody of the boys but Amy lobbied for joint custody.
"He was a good dad but I wasn't prepared to give up my boys for anything. I don't know why he did what he did but I suppose he wanted to get rid of me and not have to pay child maintenance," she said.
When the couple separated, Chris got a hotel room. On July 2, 2004, Amy thought she was meeting him in the hotel to finalise the details of the divorce. Instead, she was walking into a carefully planned trap.
As the couple argued over the custody of their two boys, Chris snapped. "I just remember seeing a look on him that I had never ever seen before in my life. It was the look of a monster," she said.
Amy was savagely beaten in that hotel room. First he beat her to within an inch of her life, fracturing her skull as he hit her over the head with a torch, before trying to smother her with a pillow then drown her in the bath.
"The meeting degenerated as usual and we started arguing over the custody of the boys,” she recalled.
"I went to the bathroom and when I came out I could tell something was very wrong but I never expected what happened next.
"That's when he hit me over the head with a torch. As he hit me I remember him saying: ‘Make this easy for me’.
"He then put a pillow over my face and tried to suffocate me. When that didn't work he dragged me into the bathroom and tried to drown me.”
Someone in a nearby room heard the commotion and called the police. When officer Paul Lovett arrived, Chris Rezos tried to convince him that they were victims of a robbery. But the cops weren’t buying it.
"I could see a woman on the floor covered in blood. The bathroom was covered in blood. I was certain she was dying. I asked her to blink once for no, twice for yes," Lovett said.
When police searched Chris, his elaborate plot became clear.
Wannabe killer’s fake robbery plot
They found rubber gloves, Amy's jewellery and credit cards to make it look like a robbery, even a to-do list Chris had written on Post-it notes.
As Amy lay near death, Lovett tried to speak to her. "I asked if your husband did this to you and blink once for no, twice for yes, and she blinked twice," he said.
Amy recalled the horrifying moment: "I don't remember much. I felt I was dying at the time. My blood pressure was 70 over 40 because I had lost so much blood. I had four skull fractures.
“I had to have over 30 staples put in my head. I had a small fracture in my vertebrae. I was covered in bruises ... I had rug burns on my knees where he had dragged me across the floor."
Her family was shocked at the extent of her injuries but they got another shock when they found out Chris had been released on bond.
A few days later, Chris Rezos was arraigned but the judge never heard the details of the savage beating or the carefully calculated murder plot. So he was released again - this time on a $100,000 bond.
The police told Amy to change all the locks in her home. A restraining order was granted to prevent her husband from seeing her. Chris was staying with his parents and made no attempts to communicate with her or see her - until a few weeks later.
On July 26, 2004 as Amy was in her van pulling out of the driveway and heading to work, Chris was hiding in the back with a gun.
"I had no idea Chris was hiding in the back with a gun. Suddenly he sprung up and told me to turn right,” she recalled.
"I remember screaming, slamming on the brakes and screaming. And that is when he shot me in the back of my head ... I crashed into a concrete post and his head hit the windscreen. He broke his leg with the impact.
"I really don't remember much else, which is a blessing.”
He had shot her twice in the head during the incident. One bullet shattered an eye socket, leaving her almost blind in her left eye.
Sheriff's detectives Rob Whitlock and Ken Hardin arrived on the scene soon after. The detectives found the bullet that had gone through Amy's head on the floor, a gun and a baked potato that Chris had intended to use as a silencer on the passenger seat.
When the detectives reached the hospital, doctors told them Amy was unlikely to live.
They quickly tried to get a statement from her while she remained conscious. Whitlock said they were able to record her identifying her husband, Chris, as her assailant.
For the second time in a month, Amy Rezos was at death's door after her husband tried to kill her.
Amy regained consciousness four days after the shooting, and she recalls how she felt when she first saw her sons.
"That was the only part I'm going to cry about is seeing my kids. But it was wonderful to see them. You just don't even know how much you miss your kids until you get through something like that," she said.
After beating the odds again, she needed surgery to remove the fragments of the bullets and a titanium plate was installed in her head.
Husband’s third murder attempt from behind bars
Chris was on crutches from injuries sustained in the car crash, but pleaded not guilty to shooting Amy. After two attempts on Amy's life, he sat in the Butler County jail awaiting trial.
Incredibly, he remained determined to kill his wife.
From behind bars, Chris Rezos hatched yet a third plot to kill her. He managed to hire a 'hitman' for $10,000 from his prison cell as he awaited trial.
Amazingly, Chris put everything in writing. He drew a map of Amy's neighbourhood, detailing her hair colour and what kind of car she drove. He even listed in what order the killings should occur. This time, he didn't just want Amy killed. He wanted to kill her brother and her mother as well.
Thankfully for Amy, the hitman turned out to be an undercover policeman.
"He wanted Amy done first and then at the very bottom he writes 'Sally would be a bonus’,” police said. The detectives captured Chris on tape as he finalised the deal with their informer from inside the jail.
Whitlock and Hardin said they had never seen a man with such determination to commit murder.
"It's mind-boggling. I believe he started with a seed of hatred and the hatred just devoured his soul," Detective Hardin said.
After three failed attempts to kill his wife, Chris stood in court in March 2005, faced with overwhelming evidence.
He agreed to plead guilty, rather than face trial - and a possible life sentence - and was sentenced to 30 years in prison without parole. after he admitted the seven charges including attempted murder, grievous assault, kidnapping and aggravated burglary.
But although he is now safely behind bars, Amy still lives her life believing she is a marked woman, watching over her shoulder, and forever fearful of another attempt on her life.
"The good Lord above has kept me here for a reason. I don't know what it is and I'm sure I'll find out one day, but believe me I'm thankful for that every day," she said.
Amy now helps other victims and has campaigned tirelessly to tighten the law on the release of domestic violence offenders.
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