The family of a 26-year-old Richland man charged with killing his grandmother spoke out Tuesday about his mental illness in an exclusive interview with KDKA.
Levi Daniel Staver was charged with criminal homicide a week ago, Feb. 19, after he stabbed his grandmother, Connie Johnston, in the back as she sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast with his grandfather, according to police.
Staver told police an archangel told him to stab her, according to the criminal complaint.
The grandmother's husband, the Rev. David Johnston, and daughter Ruth said they wanted to raise awareness about mental illness so Connie Johnston's death is not in vain, KDKA reports.
Staver lived with his mother and grandparents at their home in the 3900 block of Gibsonia Road (Route 910) in Richland Township.
The family watched over the last 8 years as Levi’s autism and Asperger’s Syndrome morphed into schizophrenia, with which he was diagnosed after he was hurt in a fall last autumn, KDKA reported.
The family said he talked to angels and believed—in his reality—that his grandmother had tried to kill him by stabbing him, even though his mother tried to convince him otherswise.
The family told KDKA they desperately tried to get help for Levi over the years and they'd like to see a change in the law to give families more say in the treatment of family members with schizophenia.