Twin Brothers’ Behavior Raises Mental Health Questions

April 14th, 2011 by Staff

HOUSTON – The twin brothers who were living with their mother’s decomposing corpse went before a judge on Wednesday morning. Police have charged the two men with murder.

Investigators described walking into the men’s house, saying it was like stepping into a horror movie.

Brothers Edwin and Edward Berndt looked scared and disheveled when they went before the judge.

The hearing was routine and procedural but the reasons they are charged with murder are not.

Investigators say on Monday police went to check on 88-year-old Sybil Berndt. They found her partially nude, partially decomposed body lying face down on the floor in the home where she lived with her sons.

Police say the brothers told them their mom had fallen down in January while they were watching the championship college football game. Homicide investigators say the men didn’t give their mother food, water, or medical assistance as she lay there dying.

Police also say the smell of the rotting flesh was “overpowering.”

Prosecutors and their defense attorney agree their behavior raises some serious questions about their mental health.

“It’s too early to tell,” said prosecutor Samantha Knecht. “Obviously we’re going to want them to do some type of mental evaluation, but we’re too early in the game to make any types of calls on that.”

“The facts that we know now tell us there is an issue in this case,” said defense attorney Robert Scardino. “I’ve been on the case for 30 minutes, so it’s too early to tell, but an evaluation needs to be done in that regard.”

According to police, the men claimed they didn’t have enough money to care for their mom or give her a proper burial. Prosecutors, on the other hand, say they found paper work that showed more than $700,000 belonged to the family.

They are being held on $500,000 bond.

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