Man guilty in Bellevue stabbings originally claimed self-defense - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Man guilty in Bellevue stabbings originally claimed self-defense

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The man serving three life sentences for the stabbing deaths of a Bellevue family in 2012 initially told detectives he was acting in self-defense.

Craig Garber told Metro detectives during an interview a week after the Sept. 2 attack that he was defending himself after he claims 14-year-old Jonathan Culpepper stuck a knife in his back.

Garber said he'd been drinking at the home of his neighbor's when he got into an argument with the boy and his mother, Michelle Pinkowski, about whether the boy took his knife without permission.

"I start leaving, turn away, I feel a poke in my back," Garber told detectives in the interview recording obtained by Channel 4 News.

Garber said the mother then took the knife away from her son and continued to stab him.

"She stabbed me in the stomach three times," Garber said. "I was scared. She was freaking nuts. I was scared of her, OK? I was scared of her kid. I'm a big guy, but I never got stabbed before."

Garber said he then went to Jonathan's bedroom, looking for a phone to call an ambulance, and said that was where he stabbed the boy first, then the boy's grandmother, MaryLea Jordan.

Garber said he mistook Jordan for her daughter, Pinkowski.

Garber at times sounded confused in the interview.

"I didn't do anything. But I did. But I didn't. Makes no sense. And it's the most possible thing to explain. They were insane," he said.

Garber was asked how many times he stabbed each victim. He said he stabbed the teen "maybe three, or 3 1/2 times."

The autopsies found Jonathan had been stabbed 38 times, and his grandmother was stabbed 28 times. Pinkowski had been stabbed 50 times.

Garber told detectives he then tried to take his own life.

"I had a psychotic break," he said.

The police case file indicated that Garber's mother told detectives later he was manic-depressive and was not doing well on his new medication. She said he wasn't supposed to mix alcohol and drugs, but he did.

In April, Garber was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences after entering a guilty plea.

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