WILMINGTON, N.C., May 29 (UPI) -- A 17-year-old girl in North Carolina had to undergo emergency brain surgery after being nearly beaten to death by her boyfriend, allegedly over comments she made about his inability to untangle fishing lines. Her boyfriend, 18-year-old Michael Hutton, stands charged with attempted first-degree murder and could face life without parole if convicted.
The victim, Hannah Connaway, opened her eyes for the first time Wednesday and was able to communicate with friends and family, ensuring Hutton won't face murder charges.
A witness to the Friday altercation that led to the arrest described the conflict as little more than a couple bickering that triggered Hutton's violent reaction.
"He was angry because he couldn't untangle fishing lines," Claudine Williams, a friend of Connaway's, told local reporters. "He was blaming her (Hannah) for some things like having snarky remarks to things he was saying, and then it just escalated and kept on going."
Williams said she was locked out of the house when she tried to respond to Connaway's screams before Hutton dragged Connaway outside and continued his assault.
"I keep on hearing her screaming and I keep on hearing all the sounds and it's just awful. I ran around the front door. I tried to get in. All the doors were locked. It was just awful."
Hutton's ex-girlfriend Montgomery Register was present at his arraignment. Register declined to say whether or not Hutton ever beat her, only saying that their five-and-a-half-year relationship was volatile, adding, "He's not a good guy."