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PEMBROKE, GA (WTOC) -
A Pembroke man is telling his story of survival after being stabbed nearly 30 times by an intruder.
Gary Watkins spent almost two months in the hospital after being stabbed 29 times by a man he used to sell ice cream to as a child. Now he is back home with his family, but his life is forever changed.
"I come back from the store and I went in the house and there he was, behind me," said Watkins. "He hit me with a knife and I begged him please not to do it."
It's difficult in many ways for Watkins, known as the ice cream man around Pembroke, to tell of the night he was stabbed by a man he watched grow up over the years.
"I used to sell him ice cream. He was a good old boy," said Watkins.
Investigators say Jesse Newman stabbed Watkins a couple dozen times, including a wound to the jugular, with a dirty knife and took his money. His sister explains.
"He kept asking him what are you doing, please stop, please stop," said Tammy Jones. "He kept stabbing him."
After Newman left, Watkins, who is a disabled veteran, was still able to pick up the phone and call a neighbor for help.
"It's a miracle," said Jones. "My brother should not be here. Five stab wounds to his liver is enough to kill a person, much less having his throat sliced."
While in the hospital, Watkins suffered many complications.
"It's been hard for him," said Jones. "We watched in the hospital. He started getting better then he took a turn for the worse. The knife was a dirty knife and he had sepsis in his blood, which caused a blood infection, and we almost lost him again."
Watkins has an extensive road to recovery, but he is thankful for the support and love he has gotten along the way.
"It has not been great," said Watkins. "I found out I have more friends than I have in my life that have prayed for me. I want to thank them for that.
Newman is currently being held at the Bryan County Jail. He was indicted on a number of charges including aggravated assault, aggravated battery, burglary in the first degree and armed robbery.
The family has a fund set up at Wells Fargo. Folks can make a donation under the Gary Watkins Recovery Fund.