Mother Says She Has Forgiven Son Who Stabbed His 4-Year-Old Sister 17 Times: 'I Can't Hate My Son'
Eleven years after Paris Bennett fatally stabbed his 4-year-old sister, their mother admits she has forgiven him.
"I hate what he did, but I can't hate my son," Charity Lee told Inside Edition.
Bennett was just 13 when, on Feb. 5, 2007, he stabbed Ella 17 times inside their Abilene, Texas, home.
"When the autopsy came back, I found out Ella had been stabbed 17 times and beaten and choked... and basically my daughter was tortured," Lee said.
She said her son had doted on his little sister, but family videos show him violently shaking Ella's head when he was just 10. In other footage, he is heard saying, "Kill Charity's children."
After stabbing his sister, he called 911 and told the operator through tears, "I accidentally killed somebody."
The operator asked, "You think you killed somebody?"
"No, I know I did!" he responded. "I feel so messed up!"
The operator later asked, "Is she bleeding anywhere?"
Bennett responded, "Yes. She's bleeding all over the bed. Because I stabbed her."
Six months later, he pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 40 years, the maximum for a juvenile murder conviction in Texas.
Now 24, Bennett spoke to Inside Edition's Steven Fabian through a glass window at his prison in Texas, telling him, "I make no excuses for myself."
"This wasn't just one or two times," Fabian said of the stabbing. "Seventeen times. There was a goal here. What was the goal?"
"The goal was to kill her," Bennett answered. "I did think that by killing Ella I could have my mother back all to myself."
On the 911 call, the operator had walked Bennett through performing CPR on his sister. In the recording, he is heard counting, as if he was following the dispatcher's instructions. But now, he tells Inside Edition he didn't even try.
"I took the phone and I left the room," he said. "I remember counting into the phone to make the operator think that I was doing CPR."
Despite what her son did to her only daughter, Lee still travels from her home in Georgia every few months to visit Bennett in Texas. He will be eligible for parole in 2027.
In 2012, she gave birth to a baby boy named Phoenix, who is now 4. She also founded a nonprofit organization, the ELLA Foundation, an acronym for Empathy, Love, Lessons and Action, which helps people affected by the criminal justice system.
Their harrowing story has also been made into a documentary, The Family I Had, on Investigation Discovery.