Friends and family are in disbelief. They say 16-year-old Prezton Edwards was just trying to protect his mother.
Just before 9pm Sunday night, Chase Maynard was barbecuing outside at an apartment complex on East James in Baytown when he noticed a man going into his neighbor's apartment. He then heard screams and ran to the door to help.
"The woman was just covered in blood," Maynard said.
He says he ran to call 9-1-1, then on the way back, saw the same man leaving, a knife in his hand. Maynard says then, the woman and her teenaged son stumbled out of the apartment. Both were bleeding profusely. The boy collapsed in Maynard's arms.
"I took my shirt off and put it around his neck and I laid him down and sat him upright and was just holding his neck as hard as I could and I was just like, 'You gotta fight. Don't pass out. Stay with alive,' you know," Maynard said.
Maynard says he held the teen as he died.
"I didn't know what else to do. I just tried to stay with that boy and try to help him," Maynard said.
Investigators say Edwards was stabbed once in throat while defending his mother from her ex-boyfriend, 43-year-old Dene McCarter.
"About three weeks ago, the female victim broke up with her boyfriend. Ever since then, he's been coming around trying to talk to her again, get back together again," said Det. Edgar Elizondo with the Baytown Police Department. "She basically wants nothing to do with him."
Baytown police say the bad breakup turned violent Sunday night when McCarter came back with a kitchen knife.
"He walked straight into the apartment, went into her bedroom, found her there in the bedroom and began to stab her," Elizondo said.
In a desperate move, officers say, Edwards jumped on McCarter's back to save his mom. He was stabbed as well, collapsed and died. The boy's 12-year-old sister and 18-year-old brother also tried to stop McCarter as he attacked their mom and brother.
Neighbor Amber Soileau said, "We know the little sister of the boy. So I know her seeing all that is pretty traumatic."
McCarter fled, but Baytown police caught up to him nearby not long afterward. Shuffling, shackled and handcuffed, his left hand was bandaged because police say he cut himself during the attack.
As neighbors mourn the young, brave boy, the unexpected turns to grave sadness.
"From what I heard he tried to save his mom," said neighbor Keith Dobson. "He got stuck in the middle of it and it was his life, for nothing."
"He was very respectful," neighbor Marc Qualls said. "He didn't have a disrespectful bone in his body. That's one thing I love about him."
The mother was stabbed multiple times and taken by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital. At last check, she was listed in serious, but stable condition. The other children are staying with relatives and church members.
Police say McCarter admitted to the stabbing. He's charged with murder.
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