Darlene Nicole Brister Arrested for Alleged Malice Murder
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Darlene Nicole Brister

A woman is accused of murder, as the death toll keeps rising after a fire and alleged attempted stabbing. Deputies said they found seven juveniles at a home in Paulding County, Georgia, on Friday night. Of the five got hurt, two were dead at the scene. Then a third at a hospital. And now authorities announced that a fourth passed away.

Darlene Nicole Brister, 40, faces two counts of malice murder. Deputies suggested more charges were likely, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. WSB-TV described Brister as the children’s mother.

“At approximately 9:19pm on June 24th, 2022, Paulding E-911 received a call about a domestic disturbance and house fire at 776 Woodwind Dr., Rockmart, GA 30153,” deputies said in an initial news release. “It was reported that a female who was inside the home was attempting to stab the occupants and that at the time of the call, the home was on fire and the occupants were inside.”

Deputies and firefighter arrived, officials said. Authorities put out the fire.

That leaves only three children alive, with one of them injured.

“Since the victims involved are juveniles, their personal and identifying information will not be released at this time,” deputies said.

Officials did not say how the children specifically died: the fire, any alleged stabbing, or both.

Several neighbors said the family lived at the home for almost five years, but while they saw them often, they did not know them well, according to WSB-TV. They described hearing about ongoing domestic problems at the residence, though they said they did not think it would get this bad.

“She doesn’t talk to anyone,” neighbor Edward Swinger said.

“We would see them but we wouldn’t communicate with them,”  neighbor Willie Hayes said.

Locals voiced shock and outrage at what allegedly happened.

“I just don’t know who would do that to their kids,” neighbor Holly Addison said.

“She had to be sick or so selfish and so self-centered that she didn’t care about anything or anyone,” another neighbor Robin Zerby said.

“For that woman to do that is unbelievably selfish,” David Zerby said, according to WAGA. “All she had to do was take the kids to a hospital … drop them off.”

Brister was locked up without bond at Paulding County Detention Center, the sheriff’s office said.

From deputies:

If you have any information about this case, please feel encouraged to contact the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division Tip Line at (770)443-3047 or via the Paulding County Sheriff mobile app.

[Booking photo via Paulding Couinty Sheriff’s Office]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

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