No charges for brothers who lived with dead mother

MICHAEL GRACZYK - Associated Press
AP
FILE In this photo provided Tuesday April 12, 2011, by the Houston Police Department shows  Edwin Christian Berndt. Edwin and his twin brother Edward were charged  with the murder of their 89-year-old mother.  The twin brothers who for three months lived with their mother’s bug-infested corpse in their Houston home won’t be indicted on charges related to her death.  (AP Photo/Houston Police Department)
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FILE In this photo provided Tuesday April 12, 2011, by the Houston Police Department shows Edwin Christian Berndt. Edwin and his twin brother Edward were charged with the murder of their 89-year-old mother. The twin brothers who for three months lived with their mother’s bug-infested corpse in their Houston home won’t be indicted on charges related to her death. (AP Photo/Houston Police Department)

HOUSTON (AP) — Twin brothers who for three months lived with their elderly mother's bug-infested corpse in their Houston home won't be indicted, a Harris County grand jury decided Tuesday.

Harris County district attorney officials said the grand jury decision ends prosecution of Edward and Edwin Berndt. The brothers, 48, remain under guardianship of a relative after a judge previously decided they didn't possess mental capacity to care for themselves.

"This is the proper outcome in this case, once their diminished mental capacity was realized," the brothers' lawyer, Robert Scardino, said. "The prosecutors and the grand jury realized they'll never reach competency."

Police found Sybil Berndt's body during a welfare check in April.

The brothers told police she sustained injuries after falling Jan. 10 while they watched football. They left her on the floor because neither had money for medical treatment.

She died three days later, one day after her 89th birthday.

Scardino said the brothers had been disabled after being born oxygen-deprived and their mother always had taken care of them and her husband, who died five years ago of Alzheimer's.

"The person rather heroic in all this is Sybil," he said. "These two boys were born horribly mentally impaired and she raised them."

He described her death as "just a terrible tragedy."

"A rational mind can't explain," he said.

Scardino said the brothers have been placed in an assisted living facility under guardianship of a relative and a treatment plan has been developed for them.

"I think they're going to be OK," he said.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com