Woman says Lancaster stabbing suspect dealt with mental health issues, addiction

LANCASTER, Pa. - A Lancaster County man is accused of stabbing his sister and her two children. The woman and her daughter died, her son is recovering in the hospital.

James Sterbinsky, 56, is believed to have turned on his family. Police say he killed his sister and niece.

"I didn't think he would harm family," said a woman who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, who identified herself as an ex-family member who has a PFA filed against the suspect. "There were threats but I never thought he'd harm our families."

The woman says Sterbinsky had shown signs of mental health issues and violence in the past. He was released from jail about two years ago after serving time for a burglary, and she says he began using meth.

"During the addiction he became very violent, very aggressive, very mean and nasty toward the kids," said the woman.

Thursday night, Sterbinsky's violence appearing to take an even darker turn. Police were called to a stabbing on the 500 block of High Street in Lancaster. His sister 53-year-old Christine Ross, and her 20-year-old daughter Autumn Ross were found stabbed to death. Christine's 33-year-old son was also stabbed. He is recovering in the hospital.

More than 12 hours before the stabbing, neighbors say they noticed Sterbinsky was not acting like himself.

"He was real erratic. He just wasn't himself," said Nicole Muhammed, neighbor. "He wasn't the James that we met. He wasn't the James we had been talking to."

Police have not released a motive in this stabbing. The ex-family member believes it has to do with Sterbinsky's mental health.

"They were trying from what I understood," said the woman. "Trying to talk to him about committing to a mental hospital and I think that above all is what set him off."

Sterbinsky is being charged with two counts of criminal homicide and one county of attempted homicide.

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