Emanuel Fluter, accused of fatally slashing the throat of his 3-year-old niece in Kentucky has a "mental condition" but is remorseful, his brother said
The man accused of fatally slashing the throat of his 3-year-old niece in Kentucky last week “has a mental condition” but is aware of the killing and sorry for it, his brother said, as a motive remains unclear in the “horrendous crime.”
“He has a mental condition that he suffers with since he was in the Army,” the suspect’s older brother, Dariu Fluter, told local TV station WKYT. “It’s tough for us to understand, because of what happened.”
Authorities have said that Josephine Bulubenchi was playing with four of her brothers and sisters on Saturday afternoon at a home in Clinton County when 33-year-old Emanuel Fluter, her maternal uncle, allegedly grabbed her and slashed her throat.
She was rushed to the hospital and died the following day. Emanuel has been charged with murder. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bond.
According to Clinton County Sheriff Jim Guffey, the girl’s father heard her screams through a baby monitor and ran into the room to find that his brother-in-law had attacked his daughter.
Dariu described Emanuel as “separated from reality” but said he was remorseful: “He did realize what he did and I know he’s sorry for what he did.”
Emanuel reportedly pleaded not guilty to his charges at a court appearance on Tuesday; his attorney could not immediately be located by PEOPLE.
“I want people to know that he [Emanuel] loved his nieces and loved his nephews,” Dariu said. “He loved us. He loved me and his sister.”
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During the attack on Saturday, Josephine’s father was injured as he tried to disarm Emanuel, according to authorities.
Emanuel was initially charged with two counts of first-degree assault and four counts of wanton endangerment. When Josephine died, those charges were upgraded to murder.
When Emanuel was first taken into custody, he was allegedly too combative and violent for authorities to get him to take a mugshot, local station WYMT reported.
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Speaking with reporters, Sheriff Guffey called Josephine’s death “the most horrendous crime” he had encountered during his 15 years on the job.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support the Bulubenchi family and help them transport Josephine’s body to Michigan for a funeral.
Her loved ones are left wondering what could have gone wrong that led to the attack. Additional details about the homicide and Emanuel’s background were not immediately available. (PEOPLE’s efforts to reach the Bulubenchi family have been unsuccessful.)
“I forgive him as his older brother,” Dariu told WKYT, adding that the rest of his family forgives him as well.