This article was originally published on Huffington Post by David Lohr on January 25, 2017.
A Texas teenager who admitted stabbing a stranger nearly two dozen times wrote in a diary that the attack gave her “a high unlike any other” and that she was “so proud” of herself.
Pearl Moen, 19, “wanted to know what it would feel like to kill someone,” District Attorney Margaret Moore said after Moen was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for attempted murder.
Moen, who the Travis County District Attorney’s Office said had a history of drug abuse and “psychological issues,” walked to a nearby Austin park the morning of Nov. 14, 2015, where a 23-year-old nurse was lying on a blanket.
“All of the sudden she opens her eyes to someone stabbing her repeatedly,” the victim’s father, who did not want to be identified, told Austin’s KXAN News. The nurse also asked not to be publicly named.
Moen ran away and described the attack in her diary.
“She screamed and grabbed at me, saying ‘What the fuck?! Help! Leave!’” the teen wrote, according to police.
The victim, a labor and delivery nurse at a local hospital, was stabbed 21 times. She survived after multiple blood transfusions and treatment for a collapsed lung.
“They thought I was going to die,” the victim, who spent nearly a week in the hospital, told My Statesman.
Aside from a vague description of the perpetrator ― a woman with “dark brown or black hair” ― the only clue found at the crime scene was a blood-splattered gold ring. Detectives said Moen described it in her diary.
“I lost my other gold ring I’ve worn all my life on a chain around my neck as it was ripped off by a girl I was murdering,” the entry reads. “Fate is weird.”
The attack, which authorities surmised was random, remained unsolved until Valentine’s Day 2016, when police responded to a domestic disturbance at Moen’s house. The teen’s mother reported her daughter had threatened her with a knife, police said.
While investigating, Moen’s mother and boyfriend told officers Moen seemed to match a description of the stabbing suspect they’d seen in neighborhood flyers, according to court documents.
Moen’s mother later discovered the teen’s diary, which she turned over to detectives. The entry about the stabbing, quoted in the arrest affidavit, reads:
“I stabbed an innocent woman to death earlier today — technically yesterday since it’s 1 a.m. It was absolutely fantastic. Murder gives me a high unlike any other. It feels like this crisp unreality, flashing and sparkling, adrenaline and shock, fight or flight mode. How do I even go about describing it. The whole thing was unreal. I’m so proud of myself. I stabbed her like 20 times. Maybe more. I wasn’t counting. She screamed and grabbed at me, saying ‘What the fuck?! Help. Leave.’ … For now, I should explain why. Other than the fact that I’m a homicidal psychopath. I have a deep hatred towards people right now. … Yesterday I lost my other gold ring I’ve worn all my life on a chain around my neck as it was ripped off by a girl I was murdering. Fate is weird.”
The journal also contained a drawing of the crime scene, the affidavit says.
The victim, who reportedly has permanent damage to several nerves and tendons, told KXAN News she was shocked when she learned of the diary entry.
“I always thought she would walk around with guilt, but knowing she had this joy and this pride is very unsettling,” the woman said.
A former classmate of Moen described her as shy.
“She was a very sweet girl, she seemed to be introverted and shy at times, but overall she was very sweet and creative,” the woman, who did not want to be identified, told Austin’s KVUE News. “We lost touch a little bit over the past year and I heard from other friends she began to start hanging out with the wrong crowd.”
Moen, who faced a maximum of 20 years behind bars, agreed to plead guilty to the attempted murder charge, in exchange for the 15-year prison sentence, according to district attorney.
The victim spoke directly to Moen after the plea, saying she was “glad the defendant stabbed her rather than a child, an elderly person or someone who could not defend themselves,” the prosecutor said.
“It’s very liberating to say I am not only a victim, but I am a survivor of the situation,” the victim told Austin’s KTBC News.