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Community college choking victim looking for closure after guilty plea

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - The man accused of attempting to choke a student to death in a college bathroom pleaded guilty to felony assault Friday in court. In April 2013, 20 year-old Jevon Mallory, then a student at St. Louis Community College – Meramec, attacked a female student in the women’s bathroom.

With this latest development in the courts, the 21 year-old victim, Blythe Grupe, is finally hoping for closure.

Blythe works part-time at a Ladue coffee shop, while she works to finish up her business degree.  Her dream is to open a café of her own when she graduates.

She has come a long way within the past 18 months, but with her attacker’s guilty plea, the memories are back.  “Having this open up again suddenly was a little alarming, but generally, I don’t have PTSD anymore which is great, so I just feel good about it I guess,” she explains.

According to Blythe’s account, and the suspect’s confession, he followed her into the bathroom, appeared behind her in the mirror, and started to choke her.  Mallory later admitted he wanted to “withdraw her from life”.  Luckily, she let out a scream, and Mallory was caught.

However, the suspect was released by campus police almost immediately, and the campus was never notified about the attack. This communication and safety breach cost several top officials their jobs, including the campus president and police chief.

Ultimately, the controversy led to an overhaul of security procedures at the community college.

According to STLCC - Meramec President Pam McIntyre, since the attack, the school now has 67 surveillance cameras inside buildings, in addition to outdoor cameras. Landline phones now have panic buttons, and new emergency alert methods are tested regularly.

STLCC Spokesperson Dan Kimack says, “The event called us to action, and made us take a closer look at how we ensure the safety of our students.”

Blythe is no longer a student at Meramec, but her younger sister is. So these added security measures mean a lot: “I’m definitely glad they listened to our concerns and changed that.”

Mallory’s guilty plea means he could face 5 to 15 years behind bars.  He’ll be sentenced in court on December 12th.

“It makes me feel better about it, knowing that this is coming to an end faster, and that things are going to be handled correctly,” adds Blythe.