COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A family torn apart. That's the picture painted by the uncle of two siblings who were slain earlier in the week as he spoke through tears and raw emotions.
"We are living the worst nightmare," Marcus Mason, the uncle of accused killer Malik Murphy, said. "I've been wanting to just wake up and snap out of it."
Malik told police in an interview after he was arrested that he stabbed to death 5-year-old Sophia Murphy and 7-year-old Noah Murphy — his younger brother and sister. He told police he wanted to live in the house "alone," and made the decision months before to take their lives, and ultimately wanted to take the lives of his parents, too.
Mason, who before moving to South Dakota last year was frequently around the 19-year-old, said although Malik had problems, they had no indication he would turn violent.
According to Mason, who spoke to journalists on Friday as the only spokesperson of the family, Malik's parents sought treatment and experts, each who said Malik was not dangerous or severe.
"I just don't understand," Mason said, reflecting on Malik's alleged actions. "I feel empty. The pain is just so, so deep."
Mason said he puts first the two children who will soon be laid to rest, describing Noah as an outgoing and lively boy who could keep himself entertained for hours. Sophia was bright and kind, and Mason described her as a strong soul.
"These kids were really sweet. Really sweet," he said. "They brightened up the room."
When remembering complications Sophia's mothers suffered during the pregnancy, he thought back to when she was first born.
"If she makes it through this, she's going to be something special — and she was," Mason said. "But we only got to enjoy her for five years."
Although he can't understand why the two children were killed, Mason said he's confident the family will be able to rebuild.
"I'm not going to let this break us," he said. "I just ask that people keep praying for us."
The Colorado Springs community has rallied around the family in various forms of support, and Mason said it has meant the world to the Murphy family.
The road to recovery for the family will take some time, though. Mason's brother — and Malik's father — Jefferson Murphy was also stabbed as he attempted to subdue his son.
"Nobody deserves what happened to them. When I think about it, it tears me up," Mason said.
Family members and community members are working to make sure the Murphy family doesn't have to go back to a home that is also a crime scene. Mason said he hopes they can find the family a new home soon.