Woman Says She Tried to Saw Off 11-Year-Old Son's Head: Police

"We do not believe she intended to hurt her children," the woman's defense attorney said

A Maryland woman attacked her 11-year-old son with a saw and told a hospital employee she was overwhelmed with trying to care for her children with autism, according to court documents.

The boy told police he returned to their Rockville home after school March 12 and found his younger brother crying and his mother, 46-year-old Kristina Petrie, laughing and crying. He went upstairs to play a game before doing his homework, and his mother followed and asked why he wasn’t doing his homework.

The boy told police she then raised a bow saw and he got out of the room and tried to escape, but she caught him, “jammed” the saw into the back of his neck and moved it back and forth several times.

The boy screamed and was able to escape and get the saw away from his mother, police said.

She called her husband and told him she attacked their son with a saw, court documents said. When her husband got home from work, he took her to MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, where she said she “tried to kill her kids again,” according to court documents. She told a hospital employee she was not helping her children enough with their autism and did not want them to be a burden to society when they reach adulthood. She said they needed to die and she had intended to cut off her 11-year-old son’s head.

Three days later, the boy was medically examined. He had thin lines with broken skin and scabbing on his neck, according to court documents. He also had small cuts on his left hand.

Petrie is charged with attempted first-degree murder and two counts of child abuse.


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Petrie's defense attorney, Sharon Diamant, told NBC Washington that Petrie has been married 15 years and had no criminal history.

"We do not believe she intended to hurt her children," Diamant said. "Her husband and her kids love her very much."

Diamant said she was unable to comment on whether mental health issues may have been a factor.

"Multiple friends have come forward in support of her, and we're hopeful that the public will reserve judgment until proper facts come out," Diamant said.

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