WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The twin sisters accused of stabbing their father to death earlier this year appeared in court Tuesday as a judge weighs whether to release them on bail.
Jennifer and Danielle Pamula, 38, have each been charged with murder in connection with the death of 70-year-old Joseph Pamula.
Officers rushed to their Cato Street home back in January after Danielle called 911 and told the dispatcher she woke up from a nap to find her father dead on the kitchen floor with a pair of garden shears sticking out of his neck. Danielle also reportedly found her sister unconscious on the living room floor with a bottle of pills next to her.
The officers found Jennifer in the living room covered in blood and what appeared to be vomit. When one of the officers asked her if she was OK, Jennifer allegedly uttered, “I had to do it.”
Jennifer was brought to Landmark Medical Center to be treated for a suspected overdose, according to prosecutors.
While speaking with detectives at the hospital, Jennifer admitted she hit her father over the head with a gargoyle statue because he was attacking her.
“He just kept coming at me,” Jennifer recalled in the interview, which was played aloud in court. “He was trying to hit me.”
“He was like, ‘I own this house, you’re going to lose everyone, and I’m going to make sure of it,'” she continued.
Jennifer also described her father as being “like a demon,” adding that he came at her with a knife.
“We had a little knife fight, but he came after me first,” she explained. “I didn’t even think it was my dad anymore.”
Jennifer told detectives her “final straw” was defending herself with the garden shears.
“It was the only way to get him to stop screaming at me,” she said.
Danielle previously told investigators that her sister had been arguing with their father, who reportedly claimed he wanted to sell the house and get rid of their 12 cats. She was arrested nearly a month later after detectives learned she had admitted to being involved in her father’s death, though the extent of her involvement is unclear.
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Detective James Dybala, who responded to the Pamula home that night, described the residence as “deplorable and uninhabitable. He said there were numerous cats in cages stacked to the ceiling upstairs and trash scattered throughout the home.
“It was littered with anything you could possibly imagine,” Dybala said.
While speaking with detectives, Jennifer said her sister was upstairs when her father became hostile towards her. She explained that her dad “only attacks me when it’s just me alone and no one is around.”
Prosecutors shared numerous images from inside the home in court, which showed the stone gargoyle statue, knives of varying sizes and a handwritten note that read, “My confession is on my phone” followed by the four-digit code to unlock the device, which was placed next to it.
The most graphic images, however, were of Joseph’s bloodied body lying on the kitchen floor with the garden shears still in his neck.
The sisters had drastically different reactions to the images. Jennifer refused to look at the images and covered her face, while Danielle stared blankly ahead.
Both Jennifer and Danielle have been held without bail since their respective arrests.
The hearing is scheduled to continue Wednesday morning.