Tristen Kurilla, 10, is accused of brutally killing 90-year-old Helen Novak. Pennsylvania authorities said the boy entered the elderly woman's room and beat her in a fit of rage. In a police interview, Tristen said he was angry because Novak asked him to leave the room.
According to a police affidavit, Novak was living with Tristen's grandfather -- who was her primary caretaker. The 10-year-old boy was visiting his grandfather's home when the incident occurred.
When questioned, the boy admitted grabbing Novak's cane and forcing it against her throat for approximately "4-5 seconds." He further admitted punching the victim in the throat and abdomen numerous times.
Following the assault, Tristen Kurilla left the room and told his grandfather Novak was bleeding from the mouth. Although the grandfather said the elderly woman was clearly distressed, she did not display any signs of injury. The grandfather further stated that Novak refused medical care.
As discussed in the affidavit, Helen Novak fell unconscious 30 minutes later. Although paramedics were called to the home, it was simply too late. A medical examiner later determined the elderly woman died from blunt force trauma to the neck.
Tristen's mother, Martha Virbitsky, said her son admitted striking Novak and choking her with her cane. Vitbitsky immediately transported the boy to the police department for a formal confession.
Tristen said he did not intend to kill Novak. He simply wanted to hurt her because he was angry. The 10-year-old boy was arrested and charged with criminal homicide. Despite his age, Tristen Kurilla was charged as an adult.
Defense attorney Bernard Brown petitioned the court to have Tristen released to his parents. However, the petition was later withdrawn. As reported by the New York Daily News, the boy's parents "do not feel comfortable having custody of him." As he is being held in isolation, Tristen's parents believe he will remain safe in the county jail.
When questioned by police, Tristen's mother said her son has a history of violent outbursts. She attributed the behavior to mental health issues. However, she did not explain if her son was formally diagnosed or treated for mental illness.
As Tristen Kurilla's family struggles to understand how a 10-year-old boy could commit a brutal crime, Helen Novak's family is mourning a deep loss. The senseless crime has not only devastated two families, it has stunned the entire community.
[Image Viral Spell]