Susan Kuhnhausen

Susan Kuhnhausen made a few stops on her way home from work on September 6, 2006. She eventually decided to leave her work at Providence Portland Medical Center and visit her stylist instead. She nonchalantly perused an Oprah magazine before mentioning to the stylist that her divorce had been a source of stress and she needed a new hair colour. After that, she felt refreshed and headed back to her Southeast Portland home.

Susan Kuhnhausen

When Susan Kuhnhausen stepped into her house, she instantly knew somebody was in her home.

It wasn’t based solely on intuition. The order of things had been altered. The curtains were now open and swaying as if they had been gently touched. There was a rearranging of the items on her desk. She was an introvert who kept meticulous records of where she put her belongings.

She made her way tensely through the house, eyes darting nervously down the corridors. Placed in the kitchen. Calmly navigating the streets.

She made a casual pass by her toilet. She went in the direction of her room.

A bearded man with his hand on a hammer stood there. He lunged at her, spinning his hammer around to hit her in the temple. It’s a splat! He had climbed on top of her and was repeatedly striking her.

They then started tussling.

Susan was a bigger woman, who was extremely strong and worked as a nurse in the ER, educated on how to restrain vicious patients.


She smacked her assailant around a bit, and then buckled her down in a sleeper hold.

Her first move was to stifle his voice. His throat was crushed when she let go of him, and he died soon after (after Susan phoned an ambulance for him).

Her husband had contracted the killer.

The wedding he had planned for them had failed, and he now wished she were dead. He had commissioned an assassin and paid him fifty thousand dollars to kill her. (From the book, “A Hitman Came to Kill Susan Kuhnhausen. This time, she made it. Actually, he didn’t. Beth Slovic.)

She received medical care for her wounds, and eventually she was completely fine again. Soon after, her husband was sentenced to a lifetime behind bars (he perished in prison).

During their fight, her would-be killer said, “you are strong.”

Kuhnhausen’s husband entered a guilty plea to solicitation of murder, received a seven-year prison sentence, and died of natural causes while incarcerated. Haffey, the assailant, died instantly, and an autopsy revealed that he had a lethal dose of cocaine in his system. Police determined that Kuhnhausen’s actions in protecting himself from Haffey’s attack were justified, so they did not pursue criminal charges against him.

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