Twins accused in mother's murder no-billed

July 12, 2011 3:38:19 PM PDT
Twin brothers accused in their mother's murder were no-billed Tuesday by a grand jury. The details of the case were shocking after it surfaced that the brothers had lived with the body for months before she was found.

The 48-year-old twins are going to live with relatives outside of Houston now, after a grand jury no-billed them for the January murder of their elderly mother. Some say the brothers are so mentally disabled they should have never been arrested and charged in the first place.

When twin brothers Edwin and Edward Berndt were arrested in April for the death of their elderly mother, neither man had bathed, shaved or had a haircut for three months.

"They lived in squalor. The house was a place you wouldn't expect humans to live," said defense attorney Robert Scardino.

The Berndt brothers lived for those three months inside their house on Glenscott with the decomposing body of their mother, Sybil Berndt. She had fallen just inside the front door on January 10 and died three days later.

The brothers were charged because they had apparently not sought medical attention nor given her food or water during those three days. A grand jury no billed them on murder charges today. Scardino says the Berndts -- who were deprived of oxygen at birth -- weren't capable of helping their mother.

"One of them has been diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger's syndrome and the other is so mentally disabled that he really isn't functional," Scardino said.

KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy says the brothers' mental disabilities appear to be extreme enough that they shouldn't have been arrested or charged with murder.

"You don't arrest the adults that are challenged. You make sure that they're properly taken care of in a medical environment," Androphy said.

Sybil Berndt's autopsy couldn't determine a cause of death. She did have stress ulcers and heart disease.

A probate court has appointed the brothers a guardian to take care of them for the rest of their lives.

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