The Virginia madman accused of killing his mother, sister and 14-month-old nephew is on suicide watch ahead of his initial court appearance early Thursday, authorities said.
Matthew Thomas Bernard — the 18-year-old brother-in-law of Blake Bivens, a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays’ Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits – was hospitalized after being taken into custody while running naked Tuesday through Keeling, Va., where authorities found the bodies of Emily Bivens, 25, Joan Bernard, 62, and 1-year-old Cullen Bivens hours earlier, Pittsylvania Sheriff Michael Taylor told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.
Cops said Bernard was banging his head against the cage of a police cruiser after being arrested and was released back to the sheriff’s office at 3 a.m. Wednesday following his hospital visit. He has since been placed on suicide watch, Taylor said.
A motive in the slayings remains unclear, but a firearm was “involved in the incident,” Taylor said.
Deputies were alerted during Tuesday’s manhunt that Bernard – Blake Bivens’ brother-in-law – was armed and “very” dangerous, leading a nearby community college where he attended to be locked down.Bernard is also accused of killing the family’s dog.
He remains held without bail on three counts of first-degree murder in the Pittsylvania County Jail ahead of his initial court appearance on Thursday, WSET reports.
Bernard had been battling mental health issues prior to the slayings and snapped after reaching a “breaking point,” according to his cousin, Jenn Stallard.
“Unfortunately he was suffering with mental illness and came to a breaking point,” Bernard’s cousin, Jenn Stallard told DailyMail.com. “Matthew is my cousin and I will love him and be there for if I am ever able to because what the public has seen was not him at all and his family, we would never imagine this could have happened.”
Bernard attended Danville Community College and worked at his family’s campground, according to court documents cited by WSET.
But cops said he was in “obvious mental distress” when they couldn’t subdue him with batons and pepper spray while trying to arrest him. He was ultimately collared with help from a police K-9 and two state troopers, according to the station.
With Post wires
The post Matthew Bernard, suspect in Blake Bivens family killings, put on suicide watch appeared first on New York Post.