The 8-year-old girl kept her gaze focused through a door hole as she watched her mom repeatedly stab her 5-year-old sister in the next room, a prosecutor said Monday in an Illinois courtroom.
“Keep that child in your thoughts and prayers, because this will obviously be with her for the rest of her life,” said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan, reports CBS Chicago.
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The younger girl, Serenity Arrington, died from her injuries in the attack Saturday morning in the family’s Chicago apartment.
On Monday the mother, 27-year-old Simone Austin, was charged with first-degree murder and denied bail, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Police offered no motive, but prosecutors laid out in a statement that Austin had walked around the apartment with a knife after a prior incident when the girls spilled eggs on the porch, said Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy, according to the outlet.
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The 8-year-old was in a bedroom when her mother told her to leave the room, prosecutors said. She did so, but watched through the door as Austin allegedly pulled a knife from beneath a pillow and began to attack the younger girl, cutting her throat, reports the Associated Press.
Chicago Police Department
The older girl ran back into the room and allegedly tried to stop her mother by pulling her mother’s hair, said prosecutors, then ran outside screaming that her mother had killed her sister.
Austin followed, carrying the naked and blood-covered body of Serenity, and was arrested on the scene after allegedly telling at least one person she “did it” and “was sorry,” authorities said, according to the Tribune.
An attorney for Austin was not identified in media reports, which said she was represented in court by the Cook County public defender’s office, which did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
Agents from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services previously had been called to the address, reports CBS Chicago, but details of those visits were not made immediately available.