For Charity Lee, her children were her entire life. Her son, Paris, and daughter, Ella, gave her a reason to live. Everything changed one night in 2007, however, when Paris murdered Ella in cold blood. He was only 13 years old, but he was fully aware of his actions that night.
Charity Lee lived a tumultuous life. She became addicted to heroin at an early age but managed to attend the University of Tennessee. Once she was sober, Charity struggled to find meaning in her life, but when she gave birth to Paris in 1993, she found purpose: being a mother. It was only later that Charity discovered Paris’s absent father suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
Years later, Charity Lee gave birth to her second child, Ella, whom she described as “extremely opinionated, strong-willed, confident, and goofy.” However, it was shortly after Ella’s birth that Charity would relapse and begin doing cocaine. Though Paris helped to take care of Ella during this time, he resented his mother for it.
Paris had never displayed any psychopathic tendencies until 2005. He had become angered by his aunt and Ella playing together, so he took a knife from the kitchen and began walking up the street with it. Paris was taken to a hospital for examination, but there was no indication that he was a danger to himself or anyone else. All of that changed on February 4, 2007, the night Paris murdered Ella.
Charity Lee was working as a waitress at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was Super Bowl Sunday, and she had left the kids with a babysitter. The police arrived and told Charity that Ella was dead. When Charity asked if Paris was okay, she received a disturbing answer: Paris murdered Ella.
Paris was considered gifted with an IQ of 141. He had convinced the babysitter to leave at about 10:00 PM, after which he beat and strangled Ella before stabbing her 17 times. Paris called 911, but only after calling a friend. Paris was diagnosed with conduct disorder after his arrest, a mental illness diagnosed in minors that can manifest in psychopathic tendencies.
Paris was sentenced to 40 years in prison, the maximum sentence for a minor in Texas. Charity Lee has forgiven Paris for his actions and still visits him in prison, but recognizes that he is a predator. Charity gave birth to her third child, Phoenix, in 2012 and created the ELLA foundation to “prevent violence and advocate for human rights through education, criminal justice reform, and victim advocacy.”
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