In The Family I Had, a mother recalls how her brilliant teenage son came to shatter their idyllic family through one horribly violent and shocking act. Now, left to pick up the pieces, the survivors test the boundaries of their newly defined reality in this moving true crime exploration of the nature and limits of familial love.Written by
When he was thirteen, Paris Bennett murdered his four year old sister. Ella was stabbed no fewer than seventeen times. The kid who did this is said to have an IQ of over 140. Why did he do it? As an act of revenge on his mother. Revenge for what? Go figure. One might expect his mother to disown him, but a mother's love is unconditional, at least in this case. Paris Bennett's mother has led what might be called an unusual life, partly by fate, partly by design. Married twice very briefly both times, her own mother is quite wealthy; the source of that wealth was one of her husbands, Charity's father, who was gunned down in mysterious circumstances. Charity's mother was not only said to have hired the hit-man but was actually tried for murder, and acquitted. In this documentary she makes what can only be taken as a confession, although if pushed she would undoubtedly claim it was a joke.
The documentary makers speak at length with Charity and her mother who are free to tell their respective stories without questions; there is lots of archive footage of the delightful young girl who was denied the chance to grow up, and face-to-face encounters with the monster who killed her.
If you take away anything from this, it should be that some people are just evil. True, a 13 year old is not to be judged by the same standards as a 23 year old, but ultimately, words like psychopath and sociopath are precisely that, words, descriptions of behaviour, not diagnoses of some elusive chimera known generically as mental illness.
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