Anna woman speaks out on beating, concealed weapons

By Holly Brantley - bio | email

ANNA, IL (KFVS) - She was brutally beaten inside a church, and now says if she had a concealed weapon, things might have been different.

"It didn't faze me at all that there was blood all over me," recalls Mary Shepard of the scattered memories she has after the attack on September 28, 2009. It happened inside Anna's First Baptist Church. It's a place many considered too sacred for an attack so brutal.

The beating left Shepard's face bloody and bruised. Her extensive injuries included a concussion, skull fractures, and broken facial fragments.

"I had to have extensive surgery," said Shepard. "He was apparently whipping me around."

Willis Bates pleaded guilty to attempted murder. He's not at Menard behind bars serving 23 years

"I feel strongly I should have had the option to have a gun," said Shepard. "It could have made a big difference."

Long before the attack, Shepard was interested in fire arms training. She holds a license in two states.

"It's not really my story I want to get out," said Shepard. "The main message is that everyone had a God given right to protect themselves and the only way we can do that is by getting the law changed in Illinois."

Recently Shepard made a video that was posted on YouTube, and also taken to Springfield as gun rights advocates rallied to make it legal to carry concealed weapons in Illinois.

Shepard wasn't well enough to make the trip according to doctors, so Valinda Rowe took the video for her.

"The reaction to the video and pictures was intense," said Valinda. "I was outraged this happened to someone like Mary with such experience with fire arms."

"I want to encourage Illinois to get this bill passed," said Shepard. "I want them to look at my video and picture and think that could have been my mother. That could have been my daughter or my wife."

According to Shepard, the other victim Leona Mount is making a recovery as well.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.