First appearance in court of man accused of stabbing Hedwig Village woman

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The man accused of stabbing a 79-year-old Hedwig Village woman to death made his first court appearance today.

The 55-year-old suspect was shackled at the waist and had to use a walker as he appeared before the judge. Prosecutors say this was a robbery that ended in murder.

Prosecutors said Michael Susberry went to the victim's home specifically to rob her. It's believed Janiel Bernard, 79, knew her attacker.

Susberry is the son of Bernard's former longtime housekeeper. Bernard was even referred to by some of Susberry's family as a second mother.

Prosecutors said on the day of the murder Bernard let Susberry into her home and gave him water. Prosecutors say he then headbutted and stabbed Bernard.

"There was a trust relationship there. She did treat him like another one of her children so I am sure that there is no signs of forced entry, so it doesn't surprise me that she just let him in," said Assistant D.A. Samantha Knecht.

Prosecutors said that after stabbing Bernard, Susberry ransacked the house, taking jewelry, a wallet and her car. The vehicle was later found near his home. Susberry's fingerprints apparently were found on the car.

His attorney says even though Susberry is said to have shared details of the crime with police, the charges are still only allegations at this point.

"That's an allegation, I have not seen what is alleged to be a confession nor I have I had a chance to see the circumstance under the confession was taken," said Defense Attorney Robert Scardino.

The murder weapon has not been found. Susberry is facing capital murder charges and being held without bond.

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