An elderly Texas woman listened helplessly over the phone Friday night as her grandson stabbed her daughter to death, police said.
Dedré Jefferson and her mother, Ella Jefferson, were worried about Blake Jefferson, a 22-year-old student at Texas Southern University, according to police. ABC 13 in Houston reported that Blake had begun having “spiritual visions” and, on a recent Sunday, ran into a local church and interrupted services to tell the congregation about those visions.
Dedré Jefferson, a former longtime teacher who last year was elected to the Alief ISD’s board of trustees, had made an appointment for her son to talk to someone about his mental health on Friday, a family friend told the news station.
That appointment came too late.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Ella Jefferson, 73, got a phone call around 2 a.m. Friday from her 48-year-old daughter, who told her that Blake Jefferson was acting strange. She said she thought her son had taken some pills.
Ella Jefferson told her daughter to run away and find help.
“I can’t. He’s stabbing me,” Dedré Jefferson told her mother just before the phone went dead, the Chronicle reported.
Ella Jefferson called police and drove to the townhouse that her daughter and grandson shared. She also called the family’s minister, Gregg Patrick, who met her in front of the home.
“She was screaming, ‘I think he killed my daughter,’” Patrick told the newspaper.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they and Ella Jefferson found Dedré Jefferson’s body in the garage of the home. She had been stabbed multiple times.
Blake Jefferson was arrested for murder a short time later in a neighboring townhouse after breaking into the unit and hiding in a closet, the Chronicle said.
Family and friends are left trying to figure out why the young man, who had no criminal record, attacked his mother.
“At this point, we have no idea what the argument was, or if there was even an argument,” Harris County sheriff’s Sgt. Ben Beall told the Chronicle.
KHOU reported that Blake Jefferson sobbed loudly Monday morning during a brief court appearance in his case. He is being held without bond in the Harris County jail.
A candlelight vigil was held Monday night to remember Dedré Jefferson, who Alief ISD Superintendent H.D. Chambers described as a “proud Alief ISD graduate, former employee and current board member.”
School board members also released a statement in which they said they are “devastated by the tragic loss” of their friend and colleague.
“You will not find a bigger advocate for public education than Dedré Jefferson,” the statement read. “She made a lasting impression on everyone she met in the community. Her impact will be felt for a very long time in Alief. She will be missed by many.”
Jefferson’s funeral is set for Thursday.
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