Neighbors in shock after Paulding County mom is accused of killing her 3 kids

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2022 at 8:53 PM EDT
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ROCKMART, Ga. (CBS46) – A small memorial of stuffed animals, flowers, and candles continues to grow outside the home of Darlene Brister. She’s the Paulding County mother accused of killing three of her children in a stabbing and fire Friday night.

Brister, 40, went before a Paulding County judge on Monday to answer to two charges of malice murder. The proceeding was meant to ensure Brister understood the charges against her. The judge also denied Brister bond, so she will remain in jail.

Since then, Brister has been charged with an additional count of Malice Murder and Arson. In total, she now faces three counts of Malice Murder and one count of Arson.

People who live nearby say the family was well-liked and good neighbors. Now, they’re trying to make sense of what happened.

“They’d be out and about. You’d see them out in the yard from time to time,” said Tom Raykovics. “They’d be out there doing yard work or something or the kids out there playing.”

Seven children were home with their mother, Darlene, Friday evening when police received a 911 call about a fire in their house along Woodwind Drive in Rockmart. Deputies say by the time first responders arrived a nine-month-old and a 3-year-old were already dead with multiple stab wounds. A 5-year-old died from his injuries after being taken to a nearby hospital.

Authorities say two other children, ages 9 and 11, were rushed to local hospitals. Police say a third child was flown to Grady Hospital with burns on more than 75 percent of their body.

State arson investigators returned to the scene on Monday. Crews could be seen bringing items in and out of the house, much of it gutted by fire. Police were also on-site helping to cordon off the area.

Neighbors say nothing like this has ever happened so close to home.

“I read or listen to news, all this other stuff – and of course, if it happens away from you, you know you think about it, but – you may be concerned etc., it doesn’t hit you. But this is that close,” said Raykovics.