After suffering a barrage of fists to her face, Ruby Oxford made only one request.
“Please, if you’re going to kill me, do it fast,” she begged the man who threw her around her Hickory Grove home on Feb. 16, then pelted her with a salt-shaker, a Blu-Ray disc player – even her own walker.
She soon fell unconscious.
Her assailant – having beaten her so brutally that her mouth filled with blood and her eyes were swollen shut – dialed 911 and reported that Oxford had been assaulted and needed medical attention. He left the back door open for paramedics before he fled in her car.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Deputies later found the attacker in Rock Hill. They identified him as Gregory Bailey, 51, Oxford’s “on-again, off-again” boyfriend for the last 12 years and the same man who asked police to help his girlfriend.
Bailey – initially charged with attempted murder – pleaded guilty this week to criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature. Circuit Court Judge Lee Alford sentenced him to eight years in prison, after which he’ll be on probation. Alford ordered Bailey, of Fort Mill, to seek batterer’s counseling, to enroll in an alcohol and drug program and to pay Oxford’s hefty medical bills.
When deputies found Oxford badly beaten in her house on Feb. 16, she was unable to move on her own, said Jenny Desch, the assistant York County solicitor who prosecuted Bailey. Still, she managed to tell deputies that she and Bailey had argued two nights earlier.
Rock Hill police were called to that Feb. 14 altercation, Desch said, but because officers did not see that Oxford had been injured, no arrests were made.
Two nights later, she returned home and, after exchanging several text messages with Bailey, she went to bed.
Bailey showed up at her home later that night, she told The Herald, and let himself in with a key.
“I thought he wanted to work this out,” she said.
Instead, Desch said, Bailey told Oxford he would show her “what a real beating is.”
He punched her. He hit her with the walker, a salt shaker and a Blu-Ray disc player. He smashed her jewelry and electronics with a hammer. He broke picture frames. Blood splattered the walls, the furniture and the floor.
Oxford, whose leg already was in a cast following an unrelated surgical procedure, struggled to get away. Bailey ordered her out of the bedroom and into the living room. He became agitated, Desch said, when she moved too slowly.
Though Oxford doesn’t remember it, police and prosecutors say, Bailey beat her with a hammer. Investigators found a mark made by a hammer imprinted on the side of her face. They also found the hammer with blood on it.
Oxford was taken to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where she underwent surgery to save her life. Four months later, she is still in physical therapy. She suffers from sores in her mouth, which she called “mincemeat” after her attack. She contends with severe headaches. She can barely see out of one eye, and she sees double from the other. She recently had an operation on her nose, and is still recovering from a broken ribcage and multiple facial fractures.
York County public defender Mindy Lipinski said in court that Bailey does not recall everything that happened that night. Still, Bailey “freely admits he caused injury to her.”
Bailey has worked all his life and provided for his children, Lipinski said. He also has endured a “battle with substances (that got) beyond his control.”
Lipinski said Bailey, who declined to speak in court, is remorseful.
“He wants to make amends,” she said.
“At least, I have the closure now that ... he’s not getting off scot-free,” Oxford told The Herald after Bailey was sentenced.
Bailey’s criminal history includes several convictions for assault and battery dating back to the 1980s. For most of those convictions, he was sentenced to no more than 30 days in jail or to paying fines, according to State Law Enforcement Division records. He has faced assault charges more than 10 times in the last 30 years, but at least three of those charges were dismissed.
In 2000, he was sentenced to three years’ probation after a conviction for assault and battery with intent to kill. He was charged with criminal domestic violence in 2012 and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, court records show, and ordered to attend anger management classes.
Oxford said Bailey had been out drinking with another woman and taking pills before he assaulted her in February. She’s still not sure why he did it, but she said it was not the first time he had beaten her. She said she knows some people might question why she stayed with Bailey for so long.
“I loved him,” she said, nearly in tears. “It’s hard. It’s really hard.”