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Man Charged With Fatally Stabbing Mother In Amesbury Sent For Evaluation

A Massachusetts man charged with fatally stabbing his mother and injuring his stepfather was sent to a mental health facility for an evaluation at his arraignment Monday after a court clinician told the judge he is unable to understand the charges against him.

John Brittan, 27, was held without bail on murder and other charges in connection with the stabbings Saturday afternoon in Amesbury, according to the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

Barbara Diehl-Peirce, 65, was flown to a Boston hospital where she died of her injuries, Blodgett spokeswoman Carrie Kimball said in a statement.

Her husband, Edmund Peirce, 65, was taken to a New Hampshire hospital where he is recovering, she said.

In addition to murder, Brittan is charged with assault and battery on a person over 60 and assault with intent to murder. Authorities did not disclose the motive for the stabbings.

Britten father told WBTS-TV his son has schizophrenia and doesn't use medications.

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