In the United States, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

An Arizona woman tells her horrifying story to Crime Watch Daily, hoping it encourages women to not only get help, but also to get out before it's too late.

At first, life was a fairy tale for Heather Grossman. She was married to a wonderful man, raising three beautiful children. It wouldn't last forever. One fateful day it all came to a shattering end.

Only 11 years before Heather Stephens was a flight attendant when she met wealthy car dealership owner Ron Samuels. Samuels was 17 years her senior, but by the end of the flight, Ron was determined to make Heather his wife.

Eventually they married and moved to Florida. Soon a family followed: a son, and later, twins. But after the children came along, so did cracks in the marriage. Something in Ron shifted.

"He became very controlling, he wanted to know where I was at all times," said Heather. "If I didn't answer my cellphone, I'd be in big trouble."

The change took Heather by surprise. She had never seen an angry side of Ron. Now there were consequences for getting in trouble. It got worse.

Like so many women trapped in a nightmare of domestic violence, Heather knew she had to protect her children. She found the strength to leave and soon filed for divorce. But walking away was easy compared to facing Ron in court.

Despite constant legal abuse, Heather tried to move on. That's when she met John Grossman. His father was reportedly one of the richest men in Minnesota. John swept heather off her feet.

This time, Heather had married her true "Prince Charming."

Ron didn't take it well. The custody battle escalated. Back in court, Heather told the judge she feared for her life.

Eight days later, she would be proven right.

Heather and John were on their way to lunch when they stopped for a red light. A car pulled up next to them and multiple shots rang out.

A bullet pierced the window, making direct contact. Heather was shot in the spinal cord. Another bullet hit John, grazing his chin.

Heather died at the scene -- paramedics brought her back.

After a lengthy hospital stay, Heather's new reality was that she was now a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. She would require constant care. But John would be her rock.

Seven months after the shooting, cops were ready to arrest Ron Samuels, but he had fled the country.

Before facing murder charges in Florida, Mexico required that Ron finish his prison time. As Heather and her family waited for justice, they tried to get on with their lives.

But agony and torment were about to revisit in a place even closer to home.

Like a tormented dream that would never end, Heather's once-loving protector became her next alleged abuser. Heather says John became abusive with the kids.

With John's father paying for heather's $250,000 yearly medical bills, she felt helpless. This time she couldn't leave. But Heather found the strength once again.

"I was scared if I didn't leave he might kill me, and then I wasn't able to protect my children," said Heather. "Adult Protective Services had been out to my house and I said 'I have to leave, I have to get out of my situation.'"

The day she filed for divorce, cops removed John from the home.

"They had collected 700 pages of documented abuse against me from past nurses," said Heather. "I had no idea their investigating was going on."

Ultimately the charges against John Grossman went nowhere. In 2005, he died of a heart attack.

That same year, Ron Samuels finished his time in Mexico and was back in Florida, facing trial on seven felony counts, including first-degree murder. His four co-conspirators, including the shooter, were granted immunity. Ron Samuels was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Heather could finally move forward free from violence, control and fear.

"When I look back I feel proud that I left the situations I was in," said Heather. "Nobody deserves to be a victim of domestic violence."

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