Newly-released court documents and details provided by a family member shed additional insight into what happened when a Virginia teen allegedly killed his family members.
The News & Advance reports that according to documents released this week by the Pittsylvania Domestic Relations Court, authorities found a bloody sledgehammer, a rifle, and shell casings close to a home off of Keeling Drive in Keeling, Virginia, where three people lost their lives.
Police said 18-year-old Matthew Bernard is the suspect behind the murders that left several family members dead on Tuesday. Bernard, the brother of Minor League baseball star Blake Bivens’ wife, has been arrested on three counts of first-degree murder and use of a firearm during a felony.
How do you protect your children from predators? Join Nancy Grace and a team of world-class experts for the online course ‘Justice Nation: Crime Stops Here’.
The victims have been identified as Bivens’ wife, Emily Marie Bivens; their 1-year-old son, Cullen Bivens; and her mother, Joan Bernard.
A neighbor, Ms. Jefferson, told police that on the morning in question, she spotted Bernard on her property outside and when she walked out to investigate, he punched her in the arm and ran off. Shortly after, the woman heard gunshots coming from the home where Bernard lived with his family.
A lot has changed over the past3 years of our marriage. We’ve both became better people and spouses, also we have…
Posted by Blake Bivens on Thursday, January 10, 2019
The neighbor discovered Joan Bernard deceased in her own driveway and promptly called police. Inside the residence, police later discovered the bodies of Emily and Cullen. Police said at least two of the victims had visible gunshot wounds.
NBC 10 reports that the suspect’s uncle said Bernard made strange and chilling comments a week before the killings took place.
“He expressed to his mother last week that he was having bad dreams, and that he’d seen demons around his bed,” Bryant Bernard reportedly said.
“He woke up [on Tuesday,] he said something to his mother that something’s going on and ‘it has to stop today’ and he left. They never saw him again until the point of where [his mom] got back home and that’s where she confronted him.”
Bryant Bernard said even the family dog was killed during the gruesome incident.
Shortly after the killings, Bernard allegedly ran from the home naked and past a media stage area where reporters were filming. The bizarre incident was caught on camera as the naked suspect grabbed a church groundskeeper and tried to choke him.
Police eventually stopped Bernard by macing him and striking him with a nightstick when the suspect ran out of a nearby wooded area.
Bernard is currently on suicide watch and behind bars without bond.
Check back for further details.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Here is a related episode.
Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most – your children.
[Feature Photo: Blake, Emily and Cullen Bivens/Facebook]