US television network Investigation Discovery last night aired a chilling documentary about an event that tore an entire family apart.
The Family I Had shows how, in 2007, mother-of-two Charity Lee, now 44, was working at her job in a restaurant when she received a call no parent would ever wish to take.
She was informed by police officers that her 13-year-old son, Paris Bennett, had choked and stabbed her daughter Ella, three, to death.
In the documentary, Charity’s voice shook as she said: “[The police] told me that my daughter had been hurt. And I was saying ‘You need to take me to Ella now.'”
The police had no option but to reply: “You can’t go… she’s dead.”
The documentary revealed that Paris had convinced the babysitter who was watching him and his sister to go home.
Shortly afterwards, he choked Ella and stabbed her 17 times, in cold blood.
Afterwards, he called a schoolfriend and had a six minute conversation before dialling 911 for the police.
He said: “I’ve accidentally killed somebody.”
Police responders asked: “You think you’ve killed somebody?”
To which Paris replied: “No, I know I did… my sister.”
Afterwards, while emergency services were on their way, Paris pretended to perform CPR while on the phone with authorities.
In harrowing scenes, Charity describes how the full force of what her son had done didn’t hit her until police told her they “had” her son.
And she revealed another chilling detail – Paris wanted to murder her, too. She recalled: “He said the first reason he didn’t go ahead with it was because it was a lot harder to kill someone than he thought.
“The second reason was the realisation if he’d killed me, I only would have suffered for five, 10, 15 minutes. But, if he left me alive [without Ella], I would suffer for the rest of my life.”
Paris is 10 years into a 40-year sentence, yet his mother Charity appears to have forgiven him.
The documentary describes the difficulty she faced in the aftermath of the killing.
In interviews with the filmmakers, she wonders if trying to get Paris the help he needed would betray Ella’s memory. But on the other hand, she asked if her mentally ill son needed help beyond simply being locked up?
In an online comment about the film, a user claiming to be Charity wrote: “Please know I have not just appeared to have forgiven my son. I have forgiven my son.”
The documentary, titled The Family I Had, is available to watch online through Investigation Discovery’s website.