11-year-old forced to watch grandparents shot, stabbed, prosecutors say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Prosecutors went into gruesome details Thursday about the 2017 murder of a Charlotte couple.

In court, they accused Curtis Atkinson Jr., along with his girlfriend, Nikkia Cooper, of stabbing his father 69 times and making his 11-year-old niece watch.

Curtis Atkinson Sr. and his wife, Ruby, were also shot that April night on Glencannon Drive in east Charlotte.

"I hurt for the loss of my baby brother and my sister-in-law and niece, and that hurt is still being healed," Curtis Atkinson Sr.’s brother, Ralph Atkinson said Thursday.

Ralph Atkinson said the family is still coming to terms with what happened.

[PAST COVERAGE: Death penalty sought against man accused of killing parents, kidnapping niece]

Cooper accepted a plea deal Thursday, and Atkinson Jr. may get the death penalty when he goes to trial.

Prosecutors said Atkinson Jr. kidnapped and threatened to kill his niece after the murders.

[PAST COVERAGE: Sources: Kidnapped girl may have witnessed grandparents' murders]

"I just can't imagine her doing anything like that, but it's not the same person now that was then,” Cooper’s friend Bobby Reynolds said. “She's grown up a lot these last few years in jail."

Reynolds said he believes an abusive childhood followed by an abusive relationship led her to be manipulated into participating in this brutal crime.

(Atkinson Jr. and Cooper)

Atkinson's family said they forgive the suspects. "I don't know the young lady, but I know Christ and so I have to love her in spite of," Atkinson said.

The niece who was forced to watch the killings is still hurting, Atkinson said.

“She could be somewhat confused, but she is very smart, and I believe she is going to take hold of the good side,” he said.

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