Parents Charged in Kids' Murder-Suicide

ByABC News
August 8, 2001, 11:20 AM

Aug. 8 -- The deaths of Boyd and Nissa Mae Warren's three children have been ruled a murder-suicide, but the North Carolina couple are facing charges for the squalid conditions in which they allegedly lived.

Boyd Warren, 43, and Nissa Mae Warren, 41, were arrested Tuesday at their Kenly home, where the bodies of their three teenage children were found shot to death on July 26. The parents were each charged with misdemeanor child abuse and storing firearms in a manner accessible to a child.

If convicted, they could face a maximum of 120 days in jail for each offense. They are scheduled for a court appearance on Sept. 6.

"The defendants unlawfully and willfully did, being the parent of Bradley Kyle Warren and Brandon Keith Warren, both children were less than 16 years of age, did create or allow to be created a substantial risk of physical injury upon those children by other than accidental means," the arrest warrant said.

Investigators determined that 14-year-old Brandon Warren shot his 13-year-old brother Bradley and 19-year-old sister Marnie before shooting himself. A .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle was found lying between Brandon's legs, with the barrel pointed toward his head.

"This has truly been a tragic incident due to the loss of three precious lives from our community," Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said. "Common sense tells us these adults were not the parents these children deserved.

"As parents, we've all got a responsibility to raise our children in as best a situation as we can afford," he added. "A lot of things come without a price. Right is right, and wrong is wrong."

Previous Abuse Convictions

According to a report in the Charlotte Observer, state Social Service inspectors recently warned the parents that if they didn't clean up their home, they could lose their children. The boys had been spending nights with a neighbor for about two months.

The charges against the parents came after investigators questioned the family's only surviving child, 21-year-old Ellis Warren, who left home six years ago but came to the memorial services for the three children on Saturday.