Man charged with killing elderly parents, Shirley and Johnnie Ervin, had history of violence against the couple

Chicago Sun-Times

Dexter Barnes | Chicago Police

Dexter Barnes | Chicago Police

A 47-year-old man stabbed his parents—Shirley Ervin and Johnnie Ervin—to death inside the couple’s home in the Austin neighborhood over the weekend, Cook County prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

Around 1 a.m. Sunday, Dexter Barnes brushed past his brother and another witness in the gangway of the two-flat where his 69-year-old mother and 73-year-old father lived in the 1400 block of North Leclaire Avenue.

When the brother went inside, he found the couples’ bodies lying on the kitchen floor, a dozen knives scattered beside them, alongside a bloody mop and paper towels, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said.

Johnnie Ervin had been stabbed 11 times, and his intestines hung from his sides; a “portion” of his intestines were found in the sink, Santini said.

“I think the unimaginable facts speak for themselves,” Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. said at the bond hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse. “You will be held, no bond.”

The brother ran outside after taking in the gruesome scene, alerting the other witness, and they saw Barnes running from the front door of the house, prosecutors said.

Police arrested Barnes, noting he had blood on his clothing and cuts on his hands, prosecutors said. He was allegedly carrying his father’s wallet.

Barnes, who appeared in court wearing a torn, disposable jail jumpsuit over tan slacks, was silent as Santini went over the evidence against him.

Barnes first told police he’d cut himself during a fight with his brother, then said he’d been injured defending himself from an “attack from his elderly parents,” Santini said.

Johnnie Ervin, who used a walker, suffered wounds to his sides, arms, back and chin, as well as the deep punctures to his abdomen, Santini said. Shirley Ervin, who suffered from dementia, had a puncture wound to the chest, and was found partially undressed.

In 2006, Barnes pleaded guilty to domestic battery charges in which his mother was a victim. In 2014, he was charged in another domestic battery of his mother at his parents’ apartment.

A police report states Barnes “slammed a door on the victim’s arm.” Barnes pleaded guilty and an order of protection barred him from contact with Shirley Ervin, or from being at his parents’ apartment. The order expired in November.

Santini said Barnes lived with his parents, but Barnes’ attorney, Assistant Public Defender Andrea Webber, said Barnes lived with his wife and son. Barnes, she said, collects Social Security income because of a seizure disorder.

Barnes also was on probation for aggravated battery, stemming from a 2015 incident in which he spit on a nurse who had treated him for an allergic reaction to a bee sting, Santini said.

He also has a history of felony arrests, Santini said.

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