Argument in van leads to woman pouring bleach on her boyfriend’s face, killing Darrius Ellis in West Englewood

Chicago Sun-Times

Yasmine Elder | Chicago Police

Yasmine Elder | Chicago Police

A South Side woman used an unusual method to kill her boyfriend Darrius Ellis—poisoning him with bleach—and now she’s charged with murder, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

Ellis, 26, died after he ingested bleach during a fight with Yasmine T. Elder, 24, in a minivan earlier this week, Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Carlson said in court Thursday. Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Elder held on a $1 million bond.

Early Monday morning, the couple started arguing after Elder picked up Ellis from work in West Englewood, Carlson said.

At one point, Elder, who is 5-foot-3 and 207 pounds, climbed on top Ellis as he was lying in the vehicle’s bucket seats, Carlson said. Ellis stood 5-foot-7 and weighed only 130 pounds.

Darrius Ellis | Facebook

Darrius Ellis | Facebook

Elder went on to grab Ellis’ dreadlocks and then placed her knee on top of him before they started struggling with a bottle of bleach that was in the minivan, Carlson said.

Elder allegedly doused the liquid on Ellis’ face, causing the bleach to go down his throat.

Elder then got off Ellis and left the minivan, Carlson said. As she walked away from the 6500 block of South Bishop, she heard Ellis yell that he couldn’t breathe, prosecutors said.

Elder drove the minivan to a friend’s apartment and told that person and others there that she had poisoned Ellis, Carlson said. Ellis, who had a large bleach stain on his shirt, ended up collapsing on the landing and foaming at the mouth, Carlson said.

The friends called 911 and emergency workers took him to Stroger Hospital, where he died.

When one of Ellis’ friends walked to his home to tell his family what had happened, Elder happened to be strolling nearby, Carlson said. That friend confronted Elder, who admitted she poured bleach on Ellis, Carlson said.

Elder didn’t smell of bleach and appeared to be uninjured, the friend noticed. But when Elder was arrested the same day, authorities noticed she had an injury on her hand consistent with a bleach burn, Carlson said.

Ellis’ body and clothing were consistent with bleach being forcibly ingested, according to an autopsy by the Cook County medical examiner’s office. His internal injuries to his esophagus and stomach were consistent with chemical burns, and his stomach had a PH level between 12 and 13, the autopsy revealed. Normal PH levels are between 5 and 6.

The autopsy also showed he had rounded abrasions to his neck, cheeks and back, consistent with fingernail marks caused by being held down, Carlson said.

Besides her murder charge, Elder is on court supervision for hitting a neighbor with a metal lock in Winnebago County, Carlson said. She is single, graduated from high school and used to work in a bakery, Assistant Public Defender Lorne Gorelick said.

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