Woman who survived brutal attack reacts to DA’s decision to pursue death penalty against ex-husband

‘No punishment would ever be enough’; Mariah Gardner gives interview after death penalty announcement made

SAN ANTONIO – A woman who was brutally attacked by her ex-husband is speaking out after the District Attorney’s office announced it would be seeking the death penalty in his future trial.

Mariah Gardner has been dealing with the unimaginable for the past ten months.

“We are probably better than expected, but not as good as we’d like to be,” Gardner said.

On April 10, 2023, Gardner was shot several times, allegedly by her ex-husband Stephen Clare.

Claire is also accused of stabbing his two-year-old daughter Rosalie and 11-month-old daughter Willow.

Willow did not survive the attack.

Clare was later charged with capital murder, attempted capital murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

On Thursday, the District Attorney’s Office announced they would be pursuing the death penalty against Clare.

“It was important for me to know that he would be punished to the greatest extent of what the law allows, and I was very vocal with the DA’s office in terms of what I wanted,” Gardner said.

Gardner is now preparing for the long process still ahead as they await a trial date.

“This is something that my children and I have been forced to live with every single day,” Gardner said. “I will live with this trauma every single day for the rest of my life, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that he is held accountable.”

In the meantime, Gardner is not only still grieving the loss of her daughter but dealing with PTSD and helping her children deal with their trauma as well.

“We did survive, and I think if we can find a way to honor Willow while we also celebrate our survival, I think that’ll be the key to getting through it,” Gardner said. “And just lots and lots of prayers.”

Clare’s next hearing is scheduled for March 4.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is a long list of resources on KSAT’s Domestic Violence page which includes a breakdown of what abuse is, and how it builds gradually.

If you are in crisis, you can:

About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.

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