While there are obvious rewards to raising a family, any parent will tell you that taking care of kids is hard. You’ve got to make sure all of their needs are met, make sure they’re happy, and make sure you’re making enough money to pay for it all.
Then, if you’ve got some time left over, you might get 2-3 free hours to yourself each day after the kids’ bedtime. It can be overwhelming at times, to say the least. But when one parent got completely overwhelmed, she did something that most parents would never even consider…
Kristina and Andrew were a couple that had been married for 15 years, living in Aspen Hill, Maryland. Like most married couples, they’d had a couple of kids together, both boys. They knew ahead of time that raising children would be a challenge…
But in addition to the usual challenges associated with child-rearing, there was an added element to bringing up their sons: Both of Kristina and Andrew’s boys had autism. Their developmental disorder meant that both boys required a bit more specialized attention and therefore, a bit more effort from their parents…
In order to make sure that their boys got the care they needed and deserved, Kristina and Andrew decided that it would be best if Kristina was a stay-at-home mom, making the boys’ well-being her full time job.
If you asked any of her neighbors, they would tell you that she was doing a great job. According to them, she was a “lovely, stay-at-home mom” who they’d regularly see out running her kids to and from their various activities…
According to those same neighbors, the boys’ father Andrew wasn’t around nearly as much. It’s not that he was neglectful, simply that he worked very hard in a “white-collar profession” in order to support his family.
Unfortunately, that left the day-to-day challenges of caring for the boys almost entirely on Kristina’s shoulders. She bore the weight as best she could for a very long time but, after more than a decade, there came a moment when she’d had too much…
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back
When 11-year-old John came home from school on Monday, March 12th, he found his younger brother crying on the sofa. Nearby, his mother Kristina was extremely distraught, going from sobbing and tears to bouts of laughter and back again in rapid succession.
Autism is partially defined by troubles with social interaction and communication, it’s not surprising that John didn’t quite know how to handle the situation. Instead of addressing it, he simply went upstairs to play video games. A short time later, Kristina confronted him…
With a bow saw in hand, Kristina pressed her son with questions, asking him why he was playing video games instead of doing his homework. When he didn’t give her a satisfactory answer, the upset mother chased after her son with the saw.
When she caught up with him, Kristina pinned the 11-year-old down and “jammed” the blade of the saw into the back of his neck. John suddenly found himself in a fight for his life as his mother began to work the saw back and forth, trying to cut his head off…
Fight For Your Life
Screaming, the boy fought and squirmed with the kind of frenzy that only comes with the fear of death. He somehow managed to free himself from underneath his 5-foot-6, 175 lb mother, grabbing the bow saw in the process.
After her son ran away from the attack, Kristina called her husband. Through tears, she confessed to Andrew that she’d attacked their oldest boy. At first, he couldn’t believe what his wife was telling him. When he realized what had actually happened, he drove home as quickly as he could…
It was still surreal to Andrew until he got home and saw what had actually happened. He believed the best thing to do was get his wife some help, so he took her to MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, Maryland. When the staff asked Kristina why she was at the hospital, the 46-year-old mother said she’d “tried to kill her kids again.”
She said that she felt “overwhelmed” and that she “was not doing enough to help her children with their autism.” She told the staff that she feared both of her sons would “grow up to be a burden to society,” therefore, they “needed to die.”…
Check on the Boy
The hospital staff of course reported what Kristina said to the appropriate authorities. When investigators trained in child victimization met with the 11-year-old 3 days after the incident, they noted “several thin lines,” broken skin, and “scabbing” on the boy’s neck that appeared to be from where his mother had tried to take off his head with the saw.
There were also red cuts and injuries visible on his left shoulder and left hand. These wounds appeared to be consistent with John having struggled to free himself and grab the saw in the process…
After John told investigators that his mother had “tried to kill [him]” and following their assessment of his injuries, investigators believed there was enough cause to arrest Kirstina Petrie and charge her with attempted first-degree murder as well as first and second-degree child abuse charges.
Incredibly, Kristina’s defense attorney Sharon Diamant said that her client had “absolutely no intent” to harm anyone. It would be hard to believe that anyone, including Kristina or her attorney, would actually think that was true…
It seemed as if the most likely defense Kristina’s lawyer would put forward in court would be “not guilty by reason of insanity.” However, when asked about possible mental health issues, Diamant said she was unable to discuss that at this time. If found guilty, Kristina could face life in prison.
Hard Road Ahead
Regardless of the outcome of the legal battle, raising the two Petrie boys would certainly be even more difficult after the incident. Aside from dealing with autism, they would also have to deal with the fact that their mother believed so firmly they shouldn’t be alive that she tried to kill one of them. In this article, we have used John, as in “John Doe” for the name of the 11-year-old boy. His actual name was withheld in order to protect his identity.