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Family fighting for survival after attack

POSTED: May 17, 2007 5:02 a.m.

An Effingham County teen accused of stabbing his younger brother to death and severely wounding his parents Friday night will face a first hearing this morning in an Effingham County courtroom.

According to Capt. Mike Bohannon with the Effingham County Sheriff’s office, Mitchell Beiber, 16, killed his brother, Tyler, 7, with a knife at their home on Appaloosa Way. When his mother, Kara Fennell, confronted him, he also stabbed her. His stepfather, Kenny Fennell, received the same fate when he intervened.

Tyler Beiber died at the scene. Both parents are reportedly at Memorial Health University Medical Center. Representatives at the Savannah hospital refused to comment on their condition.  

After a 12-hour search Friday and Saturday night to find Beiber, who fled after the attacks, the teen exited a neighbor’s shed and was arrested.

The white singlewide trailer he family lived in reveals little of the bloody assault that took place there. A small wreath sits on the side of the driveway and yellow caution tape blocks off a wooded area beside the home.

Longtime Country Estates resident and an acquaintance of the Fennells, Ken Wilkens, said the neighborhood is a safe one with good neighbors. In 15 years of living there, nothing serious has ever taken place.

His wife, Kandi Wilkens, babysat Tyler Beiber ever since he was a baby. They knew the family for about 10 years.
“Mitchell was always messed up. His mother was messed up,” Ken Wilkens said.

Though he expressed his sorrow over Tyler’s death, he said he saw it coming.

“I used to tell my wife, ‘He’s going to hurt that boy,’” Wilkens said.

According to him, Mitchell was mean to his younger brother. He would hurt him so much while roughhousing that others would have to make him get off of his younger brother.

“It was a very unstable family,” Wilkens said. “I’m sure the police will dig deep into this (case).”

According to Pam Cox, communications specialist with the Effingham County Board of Education, Beiber was in the 10th grade at South Effingham High School.

He enrolled for the fall 2002 school term in May of that year. He was not involved in any extra-curricular activities and was not a member of the wrestling team.

Beiber has been charged with felony murder, malice murder, three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated battery, cruelty to a child and possession of a knife (or firearm) during the commission of a crime.

Bohannon declined to comment on what caused the attack or on Beiber’s demeanor since being arrested.

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