Connie Culp: Life Before And After - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Connie Culp: Life Before And After

Cleveland, OH - We introduced you to Connie Culp Tuesday at six.

She is the first face transplant recipient in the country!

Now, she's sharing her story of survival, after being shot in the face by her common-law husband.

Culp was a beautiful woman before her husband took a shotgun and blasted away at her face. It was September of 2004 in Hopedale, Ohio.

"Actually you're in shock, all you're thinking is wow I cant believe it, you just,I don't know it happened so quick."

Tom Culp then turned the gun on himself, but he survived and apologized in court before being sentenced to 7 years.

Connie's sisters were horrified, they told a southern Ohio TV station that Tom Culp got off easy.

 "She's got a life sentence, she did nothing wrong and he gets seven if seven."

 "He don't care what he did, he wanted her dead or he wouldn't have pulled the trigger."

We don't know how Connie Culp feels about her husband now, but during his trial she forgave him.

"It's easy for them to sit back and say he took your beauty, well you know what, that isn't why. Tom loved me."

Connie went on to say she had lived with Tom Culp for 25 years, she said he was a good man and she believed he didn't mean to shoot her.

For years, the couple ran a painting and contracting business together.

But now Connie was beginning a recovery process that included 30 surgeries and then finally the face transplant.

But the day her husband was sentenced Connie looked forward to the day he was released.

"Well he better put me up on a pedestal, all I got to say is we'll be stronger and we'll just have to work and gain everything back that we had before."

Brian Duffy, 19 Action News

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