Instagram model India Ali closed her eyes Wednesday as she recalled the terrifying moment she woke up naked and badly beaten in a pool of her own vomit last July.
“I lifted up my head and saw all the throw-up. My face was laying in it on the floor,” the Los Angeles mother of two told the Daily News Wednesday.
“I got up and looked on the bed. There was blood everywhere. I made my way to the bathroom and saw bloody towels on the floor,” she recalled.
Then she looked in the mirror.
“That’s when I saw how beat up I was. It was like I was in a dream, like a nightmare actually. It was a numb, heavy feeling in my head. I was so dazed,” she recalled.
That’s when the panic set in.
“I thought what if they come back and see I’m alive and really try to kill me? I felt they left me for dead but by the good grace of God I woke up,” Ali, 32, said.
She grabbed her purse but couldn’t find her car keys or phone inside. That’s when she called 911.
The night before, Ali had gone on a date with a man she met on Instagram, she said.
James Baker, 27, had invited her to dinner at a Cheesecake Factory and posted video of their date online. One image showed a table full of empty shot glasses.
Ali said she drank too much and has only fuzzy memories of leaving the restaurant. She doesn’t recall how they ended up back at the Westin hotel near LAX. She has only a sliver of a memory of the brutal beating.
“I remember standing up in the hotel and he was choking me,” she said Wednesday.
Ali spent a week in the intensive care unit, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David Berger said.
“The amount of blows she received caused her brain to basically twist in her skull, causing veins that connect her brain to shear,” Berger told The News. “She was bleeding through her ears, mouth and nose because of the blood building up inside her brain.”
Berger said police were able to track Ali’s cell phone and found Baker with her stolen car at a nearby Courtyard hotel.
He was convicted of felony assault in April and faces a maximum of 10 years and four months in prison, Berger said.
Ali said the the ordeal has left her feeling depressed and drained. When she testified in April, she felt victimized again, she said.
She said Baker’s defense lawyer asked her, “Haven’t you been convicted of petty theft?”
“I said, ‘No,’ and they went to sidebar. Then the lawyer came back and apologized in front of the jury and said I had never been convicted of petty theft,” Ali recalled.
She said the lawyer also asked if Ali ever brought her 14-year-old son and toddler daughter to “strip clubs.”
Ali previously worked as an exotic dancer, and the lawyer apparently wanted the jury to know that, she suggested.
Baker, meanwhile, has claimed Ali attacked him first.
“He claimed I hit him with a bottle. If it was true, wouldn’t I be in jail? If he really got busted on his head and got stitches, where are they?” she asked.
Berger called Baker’s claim ” a complete lie.”
“He gave a one hour and 20 minute interview to police and never mentioned anything to do with her hitting him with a bottle. When he took the stand, he testified he had blood streaming down his head. But when you watch the hotel video from 2:07 that morning, there’s not a drop of blood, and the camera in the elevator was right on his head,” Berger said.
Ali said she plans to make a victim impact statement at Baker’s sentencing, now set for June 5.
“For all the people who said this was my fault or I deserved it, I want to show them it’s not my fault and I can get back on my feet,” she said. “I’m going to have these marks on me forever, but I can be strong.”
Ali said she’s grateful she didn’t die and wants others to be careful about dates with strangers they meet online.
“I don’t want anybody else to go through anything like this. I’m trying to put the word out for the younger generation. Don’t meet up with someone you don’t know like this. Just don’t do it,” she said.