HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Charges against a 17-year-old boy accused of stabbing his twin sister to death in west Harris County were read aloud in court Thursday morning.
Benjamin Elliott is charged with murder after he was found by deputies early Wednesday morning in a bedroom of a home in the 4100 block of Brown Meadow Court performing CPR on his sister, Meghan Elliott, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Meghan Elliott had several stab wounds to her neck, Gonzalez said.
Benjamin Elliott claims he woke up between 2:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. and was in his sister's bedroom with a knife in her neck and realized he wasn't dreaming. He removed the knife and sat it beside her before calling 911, according to claims made in court.
Meghan Elliott was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 911 operator instructed Benjamin Elliott to perform CPR, which he was in the process of doing when deputies arrived at the home, according to Gonzalez.
Moments after the initial call, the twins' parents woke up and could be heard screaming, according to court records.
Bond was set at $100,000 on the murder charge against Benjamin Elliott.
In court Thursday morning, prosecutors said Benjamin Elliott told investigators that he has never suffered from any sleep disorders and had not taken any drugs or alcohol.
However, attorneys working with the Elliott family say they are now going through the teen's medical records to see if he did have issues.
"I was really shocked when this thing went down," said neighbor Robert Dawson, who saw the Elliott twins go to and from the bus on a daily basis. He said they appeared to get along just fine.
"I hope [the sleep walking] is true because it's bad enough they lose their daughter. If they lost their son to a long jail term, that would be just devastating," Dawson said.
Attorneys representing the family shared a photo of the twins together on the beach. They said the two were not fighting and got along well.
Benjamin Elliott remained in custody Thursday morning at the Harris County Jail.
The siblings attended Cypress Park High School, according to neighbors.
The use of a sleep walking defense is unusual but not unheard of.
In 2019, Raymond Lazarine used the defense during his murder trial in Harris County for killing his wife. He was convicted.
South Texas college of law professor Kenneth Williams says Benjamin Elliott will have an uphill battle if he chooses the sleep walking defense.
"It is extremely hard to prove because its hard to get a jury to believe he actually was sleep walking and was not aware of what he was doing," said Williams. "What would help him if there is no motive to kill his sister, if they got along pretty well. If there is history of him sleep walking that would help."
Defense attorneys say they are working on all those elements. Benjamin Elliott's next hearing is Friday morning.