A Fort Lauderdale family of seven siblings spent Christmas Day visiting their comatose mother in the hospital, planning a funeral for their devoutly Baptist father and coming to grips with their brother’s murder arrest.
Barnard Joseph, 23, is accused of killing his father, Elois Joseph, 70, and critically injuring his mother, Marie Joseph, 60, on Christmas Eve, police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sousa said Monday. Police arrested Joseph late on Sunday night. He was being held without bail Monday in Broward County jail on premeditated murder and attempted murder charges.
Edwin Joseph said he visited his younger brother during police questioning. He said Barnard Joseph blamed his mother for recent fights with his parents. In the past few months, he had been arguing with them because he believed his mother was putting Vodou (or Voodoo, as it often is spelled) spells on him, Edwin Joseph said.
“He was screaming and yelling a bunch of things that don’t make any sense,” Edwin Joseph said. “My mother is a church woman.”
“Detectives are being hush-hush,” Sousa said.
Investigators scoured the Josephs’ house a second day Monday and didn’t release any more information. They’ve lived together in the home for 20 years since emigrating from Haiti.
Edwin Joseph said he fended off his brother in November, getting bitten and punched in the process, when the youngest of the couple’s eight children slapped his father and tried to attack his mother.
“His tongue was hanging out and his eyes were popping out,” Edwin Joseph said. “He looked like the devil got him.”
His mother later found a rum bottle with leaves in it. Edwin Joseph said his family does not know what the leaves were and believes the young man may have gotten drunk or high before coming to the home last month.
But Barnard Joseph’s girlfriend Aja Cox said Joseph had been drinking the concoction off and on for weeks and got it from a friend to help him calm down after his many arguments with his mother.
She said his mother did not like her and was upset that she and Joseph had a baby together last month. His mother constantly tried to convince him to come home, including the night before the attack, Cox said.
“I told my mother just leave him alone,” Edwin Joseph said. “She was trying to help him because she cared for him.”
Cox said Barnard Joseph left her apartment right before the killing, and that he was a quiet guy who went to church and had recently applied to work after not having a job for months. On the phone from jail, he asked her to read a scripture passage.