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Man admitted killing sister and her children

Detective testifies about confession

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Christopher Bernard, the Manchester man who tried to kill himself after allegedly slaying his sister and her two children, confessed to stabbing them to death, a detective testified yesterday.

Bernard will continue to be held without bail after a judge found probable cause to try him for the Oct. 4 deaths of his sister, Tricia Doyle, and her children, Gillian, 4, and James, 2. The bodies were found in Bernard's home.

Detective Sergeant Rick Charbonneau testified in Manchester District Court that police found a Marine Corps handbook belonging to Bernard with an index card marking illustrated instructions on fatally stabbing a person in the heart.

Charbonneau testified that all three victims died after being stabbed in the heart, though the children had multiple stab wounds. He said Bernard had served in the Marine Corps.

Charbonneau also said police looked for evidence of animosity between Bernard and his sister and found none.

Bernard was at the hearing but said nothing. His lawyer, Barbara Keshen, has said she will pursue an insanity defense.

On the stand, Charbonneau said Doyle, who lived in Hooksett, had gone to visit her brother at his home just after 5 p.m. on Oct. 4.

Around 4 p.m., she had called her mother, who was working at Elliot Hospital, saying she had heard from Bernard and was worried about him. She said Bernard was ''acting strangely," according to an affidavit released yesterday.

She said he had asked her to come over and she had agreed.

About an hour later, Bernard was brought into the same hospital after running out into traffic on Interstate 93 and being hit by a dump truck.

The affidavit indicates that police found Doyle's car within walking distance of where Bernard had run onto the highway, about a mile from his home.

Charbonneau testified that when Bernard's wife, Kim, arrived at the hospital, she at one point reached into a bag Bernard had with him to get the keys to their house. She found Tricia Doyle's keys and her cellphone, which was bloody.

Kim Bernard said she asked her husband about Tricia's keys, and he said he had borrowed the car to go pick Kim up.

''You killed them, you killed them!" Bernard's brother, Kenneth, shouted in the emergency room, Charbonneau testified. Bernard showed no reaction, he said.

With Kim Bernard's permission, police broke into the home, where they found the bodies in an upstairs bedroom, Charbonneau testified. They also found two knives, a large one and a small one.

After being treated at Elliot Hospital, Bernard was committed to the state hospital until his arrest on Oct. 17. That night, at the Hillsborough County jail, Charbonneau said Bernard asked to speak with Manchester police.

In interviews that night and the following morning, Bernard told police he had stabbed his sister with the larger knife, but it had bent, Charbonneau testified. Bernard said he used the smaller knife on the children.

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