THE BRONX - A man accused of fatally stabbing his cousin and her daughter in their Wakefield apartment is claiming self-defense.

Camor Harding, 20, was arraigned Wednesday in the slaying of Yolande Beckford, 25, and her 6-year-old daughter, Monique. While Harding was originally reported as being the victim's boyfriend, News 12 The Bronx has learned Harding was related to the victims and is mentally ill, according to grieving family members.

In a videotaped confession, Harding said he accidentally cut Monique Beckford Sunday. He also said Yolande Beckford was trying to stab him after they got into a fight.

Police found the victims Tuesday after climbing up a fire escape to their fourth-floor Furman Avenue apartment. Friends and relatives called 911 when they didn't hear from the pair.

Harding, who faces two counts of first-degree murder and a charge of criminal possession of a weapon, is due back in court Dec. 24. His court-appointed attorney said he expects the case to be presented to a grand jury by Friday.