ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A Bay area woman is sharing her story after neighbors helped save her life.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Theresa Sais was nearly killed Friday evening when her ex-boyfriend broke into the home they used to share. The suspect, Kevin Manzoli, was arrested and charged with attempted homicide.
It happened Friday night at Sais' home along the 3800 block of 58th Avenue. Sais said Manzoli broke a window to get inside her home.
"[He] came towards me and said, 'You're going to die. You're going to die. It's your time to die,'" she said.
According to Sais, she screamed for help and Manzoli started choking her.
"He got me down there and I couldn't see anymore. I saw white in my eyes," she said.
Neighbor Eve Poehlman was the first to take action after seeing Manzoli break the window and hearing the screams. She knew there was a history of violence between the two. Manzoli was just released from jail December 3rd following a domestic violence charge.
Poehlman rushed in and did her best to pull Manzoli off his ex-girlfriend. "I was holding my hands up like this, telling somebody to get Walter. 'Please get Walter.' Cause I'm only 80 pounds. I couldn't hold him any longer," she said.
Another neighbor ran to get Walter Johnson, who hurried into the home. Manzoli was not expecting him. "His eyes got big. I just picked him up and threw him, like, five feet out the door," said Johnson.
After some shoving, Johnson said he forced Manzoli to the ground, where he stayed until deputies arrived.
But neither neighbor considers themselves a hero. "Any typical man would do this, regardless. If they don't, then they need to be ashamed of themselves," said Johnson.
"Oh, no. I'm not no hero. I work for Jesus, not the law," said Poehlman.
Sais, however, feels a bit differently. She's very thankful for the two, and some help, she said, from above.
"Somebody's watching over me," she said.
Manzoli is also charged with aggravated stalking. Detectives said he called Sais multiple times and sent threatening text messages.