'Guardian angel' held him, he knew 'he was not alone'

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Lewisburg man whose throat was cut during a robbery early this month is "recuperating well," according to a woman who kept pressure on the wound until an ambulance crew arrived.

"He told me I'm his 'guardian angel,'" Linda Wallace said of her neighbor, Cleveland Holder, 52, of 432 First Avenue North, who nearly bled to death Dec. 3 on her front porch. "He's out of the hospital."

During his investigation, Lewisburg Police Detective Sgt. David Henley thought there might be a second suspect, but he discounts that idea now and says, "The one has been charged." He's Jerry Lee Hunter, 50, of 416 First Ave. North. Charged with attempted murder, Hunter is to face Judge Steve Bowden in Marshall County General Session Court on Tuesday morning.

"I didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary," Wallace said of saving Holder's life. "I'm a compassionate person. I like to help people.

"I'm just a waitress," she said of her work at Red's in Chapel Hill.

Her husband, Anthony, is a painter. They've been married 17 years. Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., she moved to Tennessee 23 years ago.

"I just always wanted to live in the South," she continued. "People are friendlier here and I'm a friendly person."

The one time she met Holder before that Thursday night, "We were out messing with our antenna... and that's how we met him. We pretty much stay to ourselves.

"I'm not rich, but I would do whatever it needed."

Her 19-year-old son, Tommy, helped her that night.

"He hasn't gotten enough credit," she said. "He was talking to me and the gentlemen... He looked out the window by the door and said, 'Mom, his throat is cut.'

"He died in my arms once," Wallace said. "That was one of the things that made me more alert. I just kept talking to him and that kept him alert.

"He knew he was not alone."