Man charged in fatal stabbing of elderly parents in Austin home

Dexter Barnes. (Chicago Police Department)

A man has been charged with stabbing his elderly parents to death early Sunday in their Austin neighborhood home on the West Side.

Dexter Barnes, 47, faces two felony counts of first-degree murder, according to Chicago police.

A police source said the victims were Barnes' parents.

"They didn't bother no one," said a neighbor, one of more than a dozen people gathered on the block outside the crime scene early Sunday.

About 1:10 a.m. that morning, one of the couple's three sons returned home in the 1400 block of North LeClaire and found his parents with multiple stab wounds to their bodies, authorities said. He then called police.

His parents - 69-year-old Shirley Ervin and 67-year-old Johnnie Ervin - were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. Autopsies Monday found both died of multiple sharp force injuries, and their deaths were ruled homicides.

After the stabbing, Barnes returned to the couple's home and was subsequently identified as the attacker, police said. He lives on the same block as the couple.

Barnes was scheduled to appear in bond court on Tuesday.

"Everyone called them mom and pops," the 57-year-old neighbor said of the couple. She has lived a few houses away from the couple for more than 30 years and asked not to be identified.

"I'm just shocked," she said. "I can't believe it because they don't do anything. He was taking care of his wife - she was sickly. They stayed in the house and didn't bother anybody."

The woman said she was asleep when she was woken up by her nephew, who told her about the homicides. Outside the crime scene early Sunday, she identified the victims' son, who approached her and gave her a tight, emotional hug.

She said that the 69-year-old woman would walk up the street and visit before she got sick. After a diagnosis, the neighbor said she would visit the victims' home a couple of days every month.

"She was like everybody's mom," said the neighbor, adding that her nephews would sometimes go to barbecues with the victims' sons.

"Everybody knew both of them," she said. "They were good neighbors. They tried to help everybody in any way they could."

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2017.)

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