Family of mom set on fire says it never should have happened - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Family of mom set on fire says it never should have happened

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

It's a confusing time for two Lubbock sisters. Their brother remains jailed accused of setting their mother on fire Monday morning and then terrorizing a group of teachers at Rise Academy.

It's a horrific event that they say could have been prevented. Doctors told Bertha Bradley's daughters that she has a 50-50 chance of surviving. They have not left her side at University Medical Center.

Bradley's family said their mom was scared of her own son. Through this terrible time, they feel like they have lost twice.

"We have to wait until he does something? It has to be my mom. It has to be my mom. Why is this the only way to get him help?" It hurts Cheryl Bozeman to see her mom in so much pain, especially, she says, when it was caused by someone who her mom raised and loves.

"We tried to keep him from her," explained Theresa Johnson, sitting out on a patio at University Medical Center. Johnson says it is tough to see her Mom in this situation. One week ago, Bozeman and Johnson say their brother was released from MHMR care for a 30-day treatment. They asked MHMR if their brother could stay. They feared what could happen if he was on his own.

"She couldn't turn her back on him. He was her son, but she was afraid of him. She knew he was violent," said Bozeman.

Johnson heard the sirens Monday morning. She described that feeling when you know something is wrong with your family. She hopped in her car, and the next thing she saw was her brother on the ground outside the school in handcuffs.

Johnson saw her brother she raced toward him. She asked him where their mom was. He told his sister that their mom was dead.

"George, you couldn't have done anything," Johnson recalled telling her brother.

Police say George Bradley, 32, poured flammable liquid on his mother and set her on fire.

Paramedics rushed Bradley to the burn unit at UMC. More than half her body was burned.

"It's basically a 50-50 chance. She is on the 50 percent side of not going to make it," explained Bozeman about what doctors told her family.

Bradley's daughters had hoped to get their brother help before he hurt someone. They don't have insurance or Medicaid and say no one would listen. They feel like the only way for their brother to get help was to get in trouble.

"The system failed us. This did not have to happen," Bozeman said. "He is a danger to himself, society and no one is safe when he is out."

The family agrees that Bradley should be locked up. Their primary concern is to make sure their mom survives and that Bradley gets help. They are leaning on their faith through such a trying time.   

"I can't have hatred. I'm upset about what he did," Johnson said.    

"That's my brother. I'm going to have to forgive him. Mom would want me to forgive him," Bozeman said. 

Bradley squeezed her daughter's hand Tuesday morning. It was a glimmer of hope during such a dark time for their family. Family members hardly recognize Bradley. They are praying for a miracle.

A fund has been set up for Bertha Bradley and her family to help take care of medical costs. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Branch.

©2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved.

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