HOUSTON (FOX 26) -
Her murder in Hedwig Village stunned people across Houston. Now details about the man arrested for the brutal killing seems to be nearly as astounding as the crime itself.
Michael Susberry is now behind bars in the Harris County Jail but being locked up isn’t anything new for him. He’s been committing crimes for decades.
In fact, before investigators say Susberry murdered his mom's long time employer, he was actually sent to prison for life but was released after 20 years.
“Oh how devastating. Oh my God,” says Moteel Susberry's longtime friend. The woman stopped by Susberry’s Southeast Houston home to check on her and learned the elderly woman's son 55 year old Michael Susberry is now charged with murdering 79 year old Janiel Bernard, a woman he has known his entire life.
Susberry's mother worked as Bernard's housekeeper for 57 years.
“Knowing the type of person Ms. Moteel is I really feel deep sorrow and sympathy for her and the other family,” the woman says.
Although Ms. Susberry retired five years ago, Bernard continued paying her a monthly "retirement" check. Susberry is said to have picked up that check often for his mother.
According to investigators on July 3, 2017 he went to Bernard's Hedwig Village home, this time allegedly attacking and stabbing the 79 year old woman to death so he could rob her and feed his drug habit.
“It's heartbreaking. She's lost a best friend and a son,” says a woman whose sister lives across the street from Ms. Susberry.
“This was such a senseless tragedy, utterly preventable because this individual shouldn't have been on the street,” says City of Houston Victim’s Advocate Andy Kahan.
In the 1980's Susberry was sentenced to life in prison after committing Aggravated Armed Robbery but he was paroled after 20 years.
In 2015, Susberry spent a year in jail for assault of a family member.
“If you're on parole and you get a new conviction, that pretty much says you're not willing to abide by the rules and conditions of your release. So why on Earth are you allowed to remain in the community?” Kahan asks.
Susberry's mother, who is in her 80's, is now said to be suffering potential heart trouble and difficulty breathing.
Michael Susberry is expected to make his first court appearance Thursday morning.