Eldon Samuel Jr. was a violent man who was hooked on prescription drugs, owned numerous weapons and was preparing his sons for a zombie apocalypse, his estranged wife Tina Samuel told the court Wednesday.
The couple's 16-year-old son, Eldon Samuel III, is being tried as an adult for killing his father and his autistic brother, the Coeur d'Alene Press reported.
He was 14 at the time of the March 2014 killings.
Tina Samuel described her husband as controlling and moody. She lives in California and said Eldon Samuel Jr. moved to Idaho with their two boys when the couple separated.
U.S. & World
News from around the country and around the globe
She said younger Eldon Samuel listened to and learned from his father, who had prepared to load a trailer with guns and other weapons, water, and canned food and take the family high into the mountains in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
"He was trained to be ready when the zombies came," said Tina Samuel, who said the father taught his sons to use knives and guns and cut of the heads of rattlesnakes for fun "Shoot them in the head or chop off their head. That's the only way to kill a zombie."
Eldon Samuel III is accused of shooting his father and shooting, stabbing and hacking at 13-year-old Jonathan Samuel repeatedly with a machete. The teen called 911 that night and officers found him standing out front in bloody clothes.
Officers said the teenager told them he feared his father, who beat him, would kill him. He told police his dad was high on painkillers, fired a gun outside the house and started talking about zombies, according to court records. Samuel said his dad also started hitting and pushing him.
He told police he shot his father and then went after his autistic brother, who was hiding under a bed. Samuel blamed Jonathan's disability for the family's problems, according to the police transcript.
Tina Samuel said her husband's demeanor changed after he became addicted to prescription drugs after some work injuries.
"It got so much worse over the years," she said.
Before the couple broke up for good, they moved 20 times. Tina Samuel said they were evicted "every place we lived at" because Eldon Samuel Jr. didn't pay the rent.
She said her teenage son often missed school and was bullied when he did go.
Teachers from Lakes Magnet Middle School testified that the missed days hurt his development and grades, but that Samuel was quiet, polite and tried to learn when he showed up.
A pediatrician said the teenage Samuel reported that his dad physically abused him and that he lived on one meal per day. A dentist who treated Samuel after his arrest said his teeth were also in horrible condition from chronic neglect.