Tracey Neild of Waldoboro was pleased to learn Friday that a judge had awarded her $3.7 million in damages for what she suffered when her throat was slashed and her friend was killed in an attack in 2009.

But she couldn’t talk about it over the phone.

Neild still cannot speak above a whisper, three years and a dozen surgeries after her throat was cut “from one ear to the other,” said her attorney, Sumner Lipman of the Augusta firm Lipman & Katz.

Lipman acknowledged that it probably will be difficult to get payments from the two attackers, who are serving prison sentences, but he said the decision handed down Friday by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm is hardly worthless.

“Collectibility is a problem,” Lipman said, “but we felt it’s important that they don’t get away with it and be held financially responsible.”

Earl Bieler III, who murdered 27-year-old Rachel Grindal and slashed Neild’s throat outside Neild’s home in April 2009, was sentenced last year to 55 years in prison, according to published reports.

Corina Durkee, who accompanied Bieler through a string of crimes that ended with the attack, received a 15-year sentence.

“They thought there would be no witnesses. They didn’t think (Neild) would live,” Lipman said.

According to reports after the crime, Neild wrote the names of the attackers on a piece of paper.

Bieler and Durkee, who knew the victims and had been in an argument with them on the day of the attack, jointly owe the $3.7 million awarded to Neild for damages, medical expenses and loss of income, Lipman said.

He said that if either one has any way of paying Neild, he’s not aware of it.

“When they get out of prison, they’re responsible,” Lipman said.

He said Bieler and Durkee move around within the prison system frequently, and he wasn’t sure Friday where they were. But, he said, both were in Lincoln County Superior Court last week for a hearing on Neild’s lawsuit.

Lipman said they were not represented by attorneys.

He said Neild, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, asked him to speak about the judgment on her behalf.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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