An Arkansas man allegedly forced a mother to watch as he brutally murdered her two young children, before he knifed her to death, a court heard this week.
Little Rock jurors heard gruesome new details of the 2017 triple homicide on Oct. 16 during opening statements in the trial of Michael Collins, 26.
Collins is accused of fatally stabbing 5-year-old A’Layliah Fisher, her 4-year-old brother Elijah Fisher and their mother, Mariah Cunningham, 24, in their Little Rock, Arkansas, home in December 2017.
Police say the two children were brutally stabbed to death and decapitated while their mother was forced to watch, held down by Collins’s accomplice and half-brother, William Burnell Alexander, 23. Collins then fatally stabbed her too.
Collins allegedly stabbed the young girl more than 20 times and her brother Elijah 14 times, before attempting to saw off their heads. He then killed their mother by knifing her more than 30 times.
Prosecutor Barbara Mariani on Wednesday said, according to surveillance footage, it took Collins just 20 minutes to “annihilate” his three victims while he and his half brother robbed the apartment.
Pulaski County Court jurors heard how they robbed Cunningham’s home hoping to find money, but slaughtered the family and made off with just a television and an X-box video game set, which they abandoned shortly afterwards.
The pair allegedly attempted to rob the family’s apartment as they believed Cunningham was wealthy. Collins said he’d lived with the family in their home for about a week, but hadn’t been to the apartment for a while, reported Arkansas Online.
The stolen items were found by police along with a large steak knife—identified as the murder weapon—in Collins’s abandoned, broken-down Honda, reported Breitbart.
Collins and Alexander face charges of capital murder and aggravated robbery.
The murders of A’Layliah and Elijah were “designed to cause the most unimaginable terror, all because she couldn’t give him what he wanted,” prosecutors said Wednesday.
After the triple-killing, Collins allegedly fled to Chicago, and was found five days later by federal agents, sleeping on a couch next to a pair of blood-spattered Adidas gym shoes.
Collins was then taken into custody, and repeatedly confessed to his crimes to a fellow cellmate, Marino Bernard Scott, who told authorities about what he said. Scott said Collins admitted what he had done after claiming the mother’s ghost had haunted him in dreams.
“He said he couldn’t sleep … the female he killed was haunting him,” Scott told jurors, according to Arkansas Online. “[She] had demons in her” and the demons were coming to him in dreams, he said.
“Like any good mother, Mariah fought and fought, and then she haunted him in his dreams,” prosecutor Mariani said.
In April, prosecutors said they would push for the death penalty by lethal injection for Collins—the first such request made by the county in 10 years.
Collins denies his three capital murder charges. Alexander is also scheduled to go on trial next month.
The trial continues.