A Kentucky man accused of slitting his toddler niece’s throat in a random act of violence has a “mental condition,” according to the man’s family.
Emanuel Flutur, 33, allegedly attacked 3-year-old Josephine Bulubenchi early Saturday while four other children were in the room. She later died in the hospital from her injuries, and Flutur was charged with murder. In the wake of a senseless crime that appears to have no motive, Flutur’s family have attributed his actions to mental health problems.
“He has a mental condition that he suffers with since he was in the army,” Dariu Fluter, Emanuel Flutur’s older brother, told local outlet WKYT. “It’s tough for us to understand. Because of what happened.”
Josephine Bulubenchi’s father, Benjamin Bulubenchi, heard his daughter screaming at around 2:45 a.m. thanks to a baby monitor that was placed in the room, authorities told Kentucky-based news outlet WKRN. Benjamin Bulubenchi found his brother-in-law in his daughter’s room with a knife, and while he was able to disarm Flutur, he was cut in the process, according to the outlet.
Josephine, known as “Bay-Bay” and one of the Bulubenchis' nine children, died from her injuries at the hospital the following day, according to WKYT. A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $58k toward funeral expenses in the days following the child's death.
Flutur had been staying with his sister Simona Bulubenchi, her husband, and their nine children at the time of the attack, Clinton County Sheriff Jim Guffey told the Lexington Herald-Leader. After first being charged with two counts of first-degree assault and four counts of wanton endangerment, one of the assault charges Flutur was facing was changed to murder after Josephine died because of her injuries, Guffey told the outlet.
Flutur pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, according to WKYT.
Dariu Flutur told WKYT that his brother regrets what he did, and his family has forgiven him for his actions. He was “separated from reality,” but he “did realize what he did and I know he’s sorry for what he did,” Dariu said.
“I forgive him as his older brother,” he told WKYT. “And my sister told me to write in my letter that she forgives him, my brother-in-law forgives him. My nieces and nephews ask about him and they forgive him.”
Emanuel Flutur’s next court appearance is scheduled for December 18, WKYT reports. Until then, he is currently being held in jail on a $1 million dollar bond, according to the outlet.
Of his younger brother, Dariu said, “I want people to know that he loved his nieces and loved his nephews. He loved us. He loved me and his sister.”
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