Charity Lee was working to provide for her family when she received the call that every parent dreads – one of her children was “hurt”.
Panicked, Charity demanded to be taken to see her four-year-old daughter, Ella. But this was only the beginning of her nightmare.
While their mum worked at a restaurant, Ella and her 13-year-old brother, Paris, were being looked after by a babysitter.
Paris, who was incredibly intelligent with an IQ of 141, somehow managed to convince the babysitter to go home before carrying out his horrifying act.
The teenager crept into his little sister’s bedroom while she was asleep and proceeded to torture and then stab her to death.
Little Ella was found with 17 stab wounds covering her tiny body. Police also found Paris’s semen on his sister and in his bed.
Heartbroken Charity wrote in her journal: “He sexually abused her that night, and he admitted the more violent he became, the more excited he became, ending in death for her and climax for him.”
Paris hadn’t stabbed his sister in a frenzied attack, the wounds were methodical and had been carried out slowly.
Charity wrote in her diary: “His stabs were slow and methodical, not frenzied, not an uncontrollable rage. Not all were deep.
“Most were shallow jabs and punctures. He told the detectives he stabbed her and pulled the knife out slowly; that it felt like stabbing a mattress or a marshmallow.”
After carrying out the chilling murder, Paris called one of his friends from school and spent six minutes chatting before finally calling the emergency services.
When they arrived he even pretended he had tried to perform CPR on Ella – but hadn’t even tried to save her life.
Paris initially claimed he had killed Ella because of a hallucination where he though she was a demon with a pumpkin head and was on fire.
His defence didn’t last long and he then confessed that he had planned the murder and was also thinking about killing his devoted mum.
But he changed his mind when he realised that living with the murder of his sister would mean Charity would suffer for ever.
His mother said: “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.”
The 13-year-old was sentenced to 40 years behind bars but despite shattered her life, Charity has forgiven her son for his horrifying 2007 crime and visits him regularly.
For Paris, he still wants to punish his mother and has been violent on visits and even admitted to her he “enjoys your pain”.
Charity, from Texas in the US, wrote in her journal: “He slammed the table into me, pinning me against the concrete wall behind me. He cut off my air. I was in shock, paralysed.
“I thought I was going to die there. Then he pulled the table back, I caught my breath, and he slammed it into me again.”
Despite all of this, Charity has forgiven her son.
She said: “My son is a psychopath. I can’t help him. That may not matter in the long run. What may matter is I can’t, not at this point, give up on him either.
“I love my firstborn with as much intensity as I have since the day I found out I was pregnant with him.”
The murder of her daughter isn’t the first time Charity has had to deal with killing in her close family.
When she was just a child her father was murdered at their home and her mother put on trial for paying hitmen to kill him. She was aquitted.
Eight years ago Charity gave birth to her second son, Phoenix, who she says has a relationship with his big brother.
She explained: “I am happy to report that today Phoenix is a happy, affectionate, intelligent, stubborn and opinionated six-year-old.
“Critics of mine like to disparage me for allowing Paris to speak to Phoenix. They tell me what a horrible mother I am for allowing the child who murdered my child to speak to my other child.
“I am setting an example for Phoenix. An example of how unconditional love and forgiveness look and behave.”
Since Ella’s death, Charity has founded the same year she founded the nonprofit ELLA foundation. It helps people affected by violence, mental illness and the criminal justice system.