WILLINGTON — A woman says her 80-year-old husband — a U.S. Navy veteran who grew up in Trumbull — is a “very lucky man” after surviving a brutal attack that police say started a college student’s violent crime spree.

Alice Franco, 71, said her husband, John, is now in stable condition. The suspect — University of Connecticut student Peter Manfredonia — was taken into custody Wednesday night on day six of the hunt for the 23-year-old.

“I just pray this ends before anyone (else) dies or gets hurt,” Franco said Wednesday in a phone interview with Hearst Connecticut Media before Manfredonia’s capture that night.

Connecticut state police said the series of events began Friday when Manfredonia’s motorcycle broke down in Willington. Theodore DeMers, 62, offered Manfredonia a ride on his four-wheeler before police said he was attacked with an “edged” weapon.

DeMers was killed and John Franco was critically injured when he came to help his neighbor. Alice Franco said her husband suffered several injuries to his body.

“He’s a very lucky man,” she said. “He’s hanging in there.”

She said the worst injuries are to his hands.

“He’s a very kind and gentle person ... would not hurt a soul,” she said. “I’m under the impression he had no clue what he was walking out to.”

Franco credited her neighbors with saving her husband’s life after they saw the attack and began yelling, scaring the attacker away. She said they also provided first aid for her husband’s wounds.

Doctors have told Alice Franco her husband will regain the use of his hands, but the couple will have to adjust to “a new normal.” She said she is able to speak to her husband by phone for about three minutes each day, but has not been to the hospital to visit him because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Franco said she’s had an outpouring of offers of help from those around her.

She said her husband, a Navy veteran, retired after a career in finance, has taken up hobbies amid the pandemic, including rebuilding a stone wall on their property and cleaning up a collection of tools inherited from his grandfather.

“He sounds positive,” she said. “I feel happy about that.”

After the attack on the two men, police said Manfredonia committed a home invasion in Willington. The resident was left unharmed Sunday after police say Manfredonia stole his guns, food, supplies and his truck.

A few hours later, police recovered the stolen truck in Derby, setting off an extensive search that led authorities to a Roosevelt Drive home about a mile away. Police said video surveillance showed Manfredonia walking “directly” toward Nicholas Eisele’s home between 5 and 6 a.m. Sunday.

Eisele, who was described by police as an “acquaintance” of Manfredonia, was killed after being shot several times in the head, the state’s medical examiner said.

By the time police arrived, Manfredonia had fled and kidnapped Eisele’s girlfriend in her 2016 Volkswagen Jetta. The woman and the car were recovered later Sunday in New Jersey. Police said the woman was unharmed and returned to Connecticut where she was interviewed by investigators.