ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — A woman was heading to her family's holiday party on Dec. 28, 2018.
What started as a night of playing games and singing carols soon turned into chaos.
Her life changed that night and so did many others.
The judge is requesting media to not film victim testimonies and 5 On Your Side has decided to not identify the victim's name.
The victim was the first to take the stand Friday morning to recall that cold night.
Shortly after midnight, she was leaving her cousin's holiday party by herself.
She told the jury the quiet neighborhood felt safe until she saw a man walking on the street.
"I grabbed my key fob to open the car," she said. "I didn't have a good feeling about it. I approached the driver's side and I heard running. Out of fear, I got into the car and that's when I got attacked."
She recalled trying to lock the car but said the man opened her car door.
That man, she said, is Richard Darren Emery. But at the time, she didn't know who he was.
She also didn't know that Emery had just been accused of killing his girlfriend, her two young children and her mother within the last hour and exchanged gunfire with police.
Emery faces four counts of first-degree murder along with 11 other charges.
The murder charges are for the deaths of his girlfriend Kate Kasten, her mother Jane Moeckel, and Kasten's children 8-year-old Zoe and 10-year-old Jonathan.
On the stand Friday, the victim said Emery told her, "I got to get out of here. I got to get out of here."
She remembered the voice and tone: desperate and urgent.
That's when she positioned her body in what she calls defense mode and put her knees up to make herself as small as possible.
"He stepped close and his right arm began swinging into the car. It felt like I was being punched," she said.
She said that's when he commanded her to get into the passenger seat since he said he had to get out of there.
"I did not move. I worked hard to defend myself," she said.
That's when she said she put her elbow onto the horn and the horn was blaring.
"I braced solidly in my car. There was no way I was going to get into the passenger seat," she said.
She said he then commanded her to move once again.
She agreed but didn't plan to comply.
There was a struggle.
That's when the car alarm went off.
She said the defendant told her, "Turn the alarm off, you're making too much noise."
She said she finally had her left hand free and reached for the knife.
She was able to firmly grip the blade and she pushed her hand and legs against him.
"He stepped back, he a made a 45-degree turn and began walking down the street casually," she said.
She went back to her cousin's house.
After going to the hospital, she learned she suffered seven stab wounds to the chest, throat, left hand and leg.
She said the medical staff was concerned because the punctures were close to major organs.
Since then, she's received counseling that recently came to an end.
The defense did not cross-examine her.
As she left the stand, she looked directly at Emery, not breaking her sight.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Emery in this trial.
During opening statements, the defense said evidence will show Emery will be held accountable for murder, but it shouldn't be first-degree murder.
They say Emery has a mental health issue and was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
Defense lawyer Stephen Reynolds is asking the jury not to charge Emery with first-degree but second-degree murder. This would take the death penalty off the table.