A man who police say killed three of his relatives before getting naked and leading police on a foot chase has been charged with murder.

Matthew Bernard, 18, is accused of killing his mother, 62-year-old Joan Bernard, his sister Emily Bernard Bivens, 25, and her 14-month-old son Cullen Bivens, at their home in Pittsylvania County, Virginia last month.

Bernard appeared in court on Thursday where he was charged with three counts each of first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

According to WDBJ17, when the judge asked Bernard if he understood what he his charges, he responded, ‘yes sir’ in a quiet voice.

Barnard’s lawyer, James Martin, has requested an evaluation of his client’s sanity and competency, which is set to be reviewed in November.

Police discovered the bodies of Bernard’s mother, sister, and niece on August 27. Police began searching for Bernard and found him naked in a wooded area hours later.



Bernard fled from officers before running into a church parking lot, where he tried to strangle a church worker while being pursued by a single state trooper.

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As police forces converged on the parking lot, Bernard took off down a street, but was arrested after he ran right into a police roadblock.

The next day, a white t-shirt, blue sweatpants, and a pair of Nike shoes were found about an hour from the family home.

According to a search warrant: ‘The clothing appeared to have red stains and what could possibly be particles of human tissue on them.’

Police recovered a rifle in the wooded area near the home and a blood-spattered sledge hammer found in the home’s garage, although authorities have not yet revealed how the victims died.

Bernard is due back in court on November 6. Until then, he is being held in jail, according to authorities.