04/17/2008

Stabbed Ga. officer returns home

The Associated Press

ATHENS, Ga. — An Athens-Clarke police officer who was stabbed by a man at a grocery store is back at home after months of rehabilitation.

Sergeant Courtney Gale was discharged Wednesday from an outpatient rehabilitation program in Decatur. Her mother, Linda Gale, says she spent the first night at home in Bishop since being attacked December 11th.

Gale was working an off-duty security job at a Kroger store in Athens when she was attacked by a man who police say has a history of mental illness. Police say Steven Eberhart stabbed the officer 10 times, severing her femoral artery.

A nurse who was shopping in the store helped the 31-year-old officer.

Gale was in a coma for two weeks and stayed at St. Mary's Hospital in Athens for 45 days.

She left the hospital January 25th to go to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for intensive physical and cognitive rehabilitation. A month later, she started Shepherd Center's Pathways outpatient rehab program.

Eberhart faces charges including attempted murder and aggravated assault on a police officer. Athens-Clarke County Assistant Public Defender Benjamin Pearlman says doctors at a mental hospital in Augusta have not determined whether Eberhart is competent to stand trial.

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