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Louisburg High student accused of killing sister, stabbing mother

Posted January 19, 2010
Updated October 27, 2011

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— An 18-year-old Louisburg man stabbed his mother and sister early Tuesday with a kitchen knife, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green said.

Julianna Mathews, 14, died of a stab wound to the neck, and Lydia Etanislao, 41, was in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Sheriff: Teen stabbed to death by brother Sheriff: Teen stabbed to death by brother

Joseph Bravio Mendez is charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He was being held at the Franklin County Jail, awaiting his first court appearance Wednesday morning.

Green said Mendez, a senior at Louisburg High School, confessed to the stabbings.

"His 14-year-old sister was on the sofa asleep, and he just jumped on her and started stabbing her," Green said. "She started screaming, and the mother came in and tried to get him off of her, and then he turned on her and started stabbing her."

Mendez was on the phone with his girlfriend before the incident, and he went to a neighbor's house after the stabbings and asked them to call 911 because he had done something wrong, the sheriff said.

Green said Etanislao told investigators that her son had "suffered some level of a mental handicap" but had never been violent.

Deputies said those who know Mendez said he wasn't a trouble-maker and wasn't exhibiting any signs of depression or mental illness in recent days.

Matthews attended Terrell Lane Middle School. Science teacher, Crystal Davis, called her "a very lively, energetic, happy young lady."

Investigators are still trying to figure out a motive for the incident and said they would look into the possibility of any mental illness.

50 Comments

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  • NCAries Jan 20, 2010

    Why is it that in every case there are people that will always try to show the suspect did not do it.
    didisaythat

    Because this world is full of corruption from the highest post to the lowest, noone can be trusted to do what they say or what they were hired for. Hidden agendas rule. Mediocrity is acceptable and applauded, failure is excused and truth is ignored. The corrupt ones make it hard for one that would do the right thing because the rule makers are also the rule breakers. Those with gold and no morals are esteemed. Those with morals and no gold are ignored and vilified.

  • Valkyrie Jan 19, 2010

    Truly heartbreaking and sad. Why, why, why?

    There is something terribly wrong with our society. These type of things are happening way too often.

  • twc Jan 19, 2010

    Sad; very sad! His punishment will be much worse than a court can ever give him.

  • MrPearce Jan 19, 2010

    We need knife control RIGHT NOW!

  • hank5049 Jan 19, 2010

    manofjustice THANKS for your comments. i have not laughed that much in a long time.

  • anonemoose Jan 19, 2010

    It's okay, it's Franklin County. The last high profile Hispanic was charged with child rape, and he confessed to multiple counts.

    He was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault on a female.

    Maybe they don't want to waste time on a charge that will not be prosecuted.

  • clover1019 Jan 19, 2010

    "I goes down to the classroom and sits."

    I hope you are taking notes while you sit there.

  • mistersinister Jan 19, 2010

    How do you know this child was not abused at home and he finally fought back. Yes he sounds like a monster but you don't know what happens behind closed doors. suckafree23

    Abused by his 14 year old sister???

  • Rockermom Jan 19, 2010

    WTVD is set up in Louisburg at Moss' feed - live feed.

  • Adelinthe Jan 19, 2010

    "suffered some level of a mental handicap"

    Yet he attended high school and had a girlfriend?

    Praying for the family.

    God bless.

    RB

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