Linda TV Review: THE FAMILY I HAD
Charity Lee tells her story in this documentary about how her 13 year old son Paris, stabbed his four-year-old sister Ella, 17 times and bashed her head in until she was dead. Her idyllic family was destroyed without warning by the child, whose conception forced her to quit heroin. Charity makes it seem like this was an unexpected event. What she fails to tell us at the onset is that 3 months prior her son had attacked her with a knife in a fit of rage.
Paris was admitted to a psychiatric center and evaluated for only a week before she removed him. There wasn’t enough time to establish a definitive diagnosis, let alone a treatment plan. Charity was warned Paris had violent tendencies, but never sought treatment for him again. In prison, Paris was diagnosed as a sociopath.
This documentary should serve as a public service announcement on what actually will happen when parent’s ignore the signs of mental illness.
Paris Lee Bennett had all the cards stacked against him. He was born to a mother that was a former heroin addict, his father was a paranoid schizophrenic with audio hallucinations, there is history of mental illness on his maternal side and an emotionally dysfunctional relationship between his mother and grandmother.
Charity Lee has established a foundation in Ella’s name to assist families who have lost loved ones due to violence.
Empathy, Love, Lessons, Action. Not to be confused with the other Ella Foundation for women who have suffered miscarriages or stillbirths.
Charity Lee could be the voice for mother’s who have lost their children to mental illness. An advocate for awareness and education. The grassroots organizer to combat the stigma of shame and denial associated with mental illness.
Charity Lee chooses not to accept responsibility for her failure to seek treatment for her son Paris. Instead she blames the Texas Prison System. “They have had him longer than I have and haven’t gotten him treatment .” She is comfortable stating she has come to terms with her guilt over Ella’s death. The one responsible for Ella’s death is Paris. Charity Lee belongs in the cell next to Paris.