A Pennsylvania teenager accused of fatally stabbing her disabled older sibling with a kitchen knife told a police officer “I Michael Myers’d my sister” shortly after the grisly killing, according to testimony heard in a Pennsylvania court.
Claire Miller, now 16, was 14 years old when prosecutors in Lancaster County say she repeatedly stabbed her sister, Helen, in the neck while their parents were sleeping. Helen, who had cerebral palsy, was found with a pillow over her face and a knife still in her neck when officers arrived after a hysterical phone call from Claire, court documents show.
The February 2021 killing is now at the center of a hearing to decide if the teenager will face a homicide trial in adult court or be allowed to move to a juvenile court, which would allow for her rehabilitation. (Pennsylvania law calls for all homicide proceedings to go through adult courts, regardless of the defendant’s age, and it is then up to defense lawyers to petition for a move to the juvenile court system.)
While the teen’s lawyer, Robert Beyer, introduced testimony this week from psychiatrists who said Claire had been suffering from auditory hallucinations and was in a state of psychosis at the time of the killing, a Manheim Township police officer testified Tuesday that she showed no signs of distress while he watched over her in juvenile detention.
John Martin told the court that Claire Miller reacted jubilantly when police officers brought her fast food, quoting her as saying: “Oooh, McDonald's. I would have killed someone sooner if I knew I was going to get McDonald's.”
He also said she spoke of her love of horror movies after hearing a notification on his phone that played the theme song from the 1978 slasher film Halloween.
“I Michael Myers’ed my sister,” she said, according to Martin.
Psychiatrists called by the defense have testified that their client was suffering from major depressive disorder, anxiety, and psychosis when she allegedly stabbed her sister to death.
Susan Rushing told the court the then-14-year-old had believed she was stabbing something in her hallucination when she was snapped out of it by the sight of blood gushing from her sister’s neck.
Helen Miller was stabbed seven times—twice in the chest, twice in the jaw, and three times in the neck, according to testimony quoted by WGAL this week from a pathologist at the coroner’s office.
Claire Miller asked to be excused from the courtroom when details of Helen’s injuries were read out Tuesday, according to local news outlet WGAL.
Marie Miller, Helen and Claire’s mother, pleaded with the court Monday to give her daughter help, not punishment.
“We love both of them. I know Claire did not mean to do this. We lost Helen and we don’t want to lose Claire too. We don’t want her to be punished, not get help, and be put away for a long period for something that was out of her control. We can’t lose her too,” she said, according to WGAL.
Testimony is scheduled to continue Wednesday.