HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The man who allegedly bit his ex-girlfriend's nose off in 2015 now faces life in prison.
It's been a year and three months since Michele Messer could look in the mirror and see a person she recognized.
The last time she saw Chris Campbell was days after the attack, in a bond hearing. This time, she says the encounter was much different.
"I mean… I was shaking, and grabbing hands, and it all washed away when I saw him," Messer said.
After the court appearance, WMBF News sat down with Messer and her attorney, John Hilliard, who explained Thursday's court hearing was for the prosecutor to let the defendant know that he could be facing life behind bars if he's convicted.
Messer, looking at the man she once loved, felt nothing.
"I wanted him to know that I was there, there was no compassion for him, there was no pity for him," Messer said.
On February 7 2015, Michele found herself in her car with Campbell, for what was supposed to be a cordial talk. Instead, the talk turned violent and Messer says her ex-boyfriend bit off her nose.
Campbell was charged with attempted murder after the attack, and since then, Michele has undergone several reconstructive surgeries.
"I cannot lie, I know I look 500 percent better, I do... Does it still take its toll on me? It does," Messer said. "But this is who I am now, and moving to a new town and people not knowing. And it's kind of hard to walk around like this. But I still do it and I still have a smile on my face every day. But to know that my physical appearance will be altered forever... it's, it's still hard," she said.
Messer's appearance wasn't the biggest hurdle to get over.
"Finding myself again, remembering...I mean every time would tell me how strong I was... but I didn't feel strong, I felt weak. Because I was in crisis mode," she explained.
Now, Michele, also a mother of two, has put the "new" in "new beginnings": A new job, a new home in a new place, and new friends.
With her new-found happiness, she has a message for other victims: "You've just got to push through it, and it will get better. There's always a life lesson to be learned, so don't look at how they hurt you, look at what they taught you, and that is truly what helped me through it," Messer said.
Though the trial date has not been set, Messer and her attorney expect Campbell's trial to be in Horry County.