The husband of a Georgia woman that authorities say fatally stabbed three of their youngest seven children before setting their home on fire is asking for forgiveness for his wife.
Pauling County Sheriff’s Department reports it received a 911 call about the house fire and domestic disturbance on Friday night. The caller told dispatchers that a woman was inside Darlene and Ricky Brister’s residence trying to stab other occupants.
When first responders arrived, they found the couple’s 3-year-old with multiple stab wounds and 8-month-old dead with stab wounds. They rescued seven children from the fire. A 5-year-old who’d been stabbed later died at the hospital.
Ricky Brister said his wife was dealing with mental health problems at the time.
“She was hurt … she was. .. she lost it,” Brister said, who was reportedly on his way home from another state when the tragedy occurred.
“I know it was a mental health situation,” he said. “We were trying to get help.”
A neighbor wrote on a fundraising website that some of the children, who are as old as 16 jumped out of the windows on the house’s second floor. One of the two children, 9 and 11 years old, currently hospitalized, has sustained a leg injury, and the other is in critical condition and is suffering from burn injuries.
The family has lost all their belongings and home in the fire and is asking for donations. Still, Ricky said he has “no hate toward” his wife of 17 years, who he said was battling depression.
“I’m definitely, definitely hurt by what she did, but I still have to move forward,” he said.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Paulding County authorities say Darlene stabbed five of her seven children, who ranged in ages from 8 months to 16 years old, before setting the family home afire. Darlene, who was arrested in the backyard of the home when deputies arrived, could face more charges as state and local investigations continue.
“Investigators diligently went to work to make sense of the chaotic scene,” Paulding County Sheriff’s spokesperson Tyler McSwain said.
Darlene Brickers was arraigned on two counts of malice murder on Monday, June 27, and denied bond.
Ricky, however, said he forgives his wife and is focused on loving the children he has left.
“She was forgiven already. She was already forgiven,” he said. “He hopes the rest of the world could also show her forgiveness. I want people to love people like Christ loved the Church and forgive them, have an open heart and compassion.”
“If I could talk to her, I’d want her to know I still love her. I’d like for her to know – I’d like for her to get the help she needs,” Ricky Brister added.