GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - The two brothers accused in a brutal attack on their parents were supposed to appear before a Gwinnett County judge on Friday.
"These boys are marvelous. This family is marvelous and this was just totally unexpected."
That's what Stacey and Derrick Butts said Friday in front of the Gwinnett County Jail when asked about the crime that's shocked the Snellville community. They told reporters they have no idea what triggered the violent assault of Yvonne and Zachary Ervin allegedly at the hands of the Ervin's own sons. They've known 17-year-old Cameron and 22-year-old Christopher for years and insist the young men did not come from a troubled home.
"If you call getting everything they ever wanted out of life troubled, then I would take that any day. Their mother and father took good care of them and raised them to be respectful--that's why this is so devastating," Derrick Butts told reporters.
The Butts were among several Ervin family supporters who packed the Gwinnett Jail courtroom for the brothers' first hearing--an appearance both suspects waived.
"I don't want the allegations against them repeated ad nauseum in front of TV cameras, so I made a decision to do what's best for my client given the amount of media coverage," Cameron's attorney Thomas Clegg told reporters. Attorney Mark Yun was not available to comment on behalf of Christopher.
The Butts spoke at length about the brothers' backgrounds. Cameron, according to the Butts, is a recent college grad who had a brief stint in the Air Force before returning to his parents' Snellville home to live. Still, no one has an explanation for the horrifying ordeal Yvonne Ervin described to a 911 operator the morning of September 5. You could hear the fear in her voice when she said she was hiding from the sons who had just attacked her and her husband Zachery in their bed.
Mrs. Ervin told the operator the 17 and 22 years old men admitted they put Zanax in their couples' drinks and then waited for them to fall asleep before they attacked. When Gwinnett Police arrived, they found 50 year old Zachary Ervin covered in blood. Investigators say his sons stabbed him several times and beat him with a shotgun after they strangled their mother.
The Ervin brothers were arrested and charged with aggravated assault, arson and other crimes. Investigators say there's evidence they tried to cut the gas lines and cause the house to explode. When that plan failed, police say the young men attacked their parents.
"I know there is a lot of judgment out there. But this is not who this kids are. It's not. This whole family just needs prayer right now- privacy and prayer," Stacey Butts said.
911 Call Released
Yvonne Ervin, 50, made the call Saturday morning. Soon after, officers arrived to her home located in the 3000 block of Forbes Trail which is in unincorporated Snellville.
Investigators said upon arrival they found one of the sons and the father, 50-year-old Zachary Ervin, who was severely injured and bleeding heavily. The dad had walked out of the garage of the house when police arrived. Police immediately took the son into custody.
FOX 5 News got a copy of the booking video that shows brothers Michael Christopher and Anthony Cameron Ervin hours after the attack occurred. The brothers show little emotion in the booking video. The older brother, Michael Christopher, appears to yawn at one point.
Police said that when they entered the home there was a strong odor of natural gas. There was evidence found inside the home suggesting the brothers tried to start a fire, according to police.
The brothers were taken into custody when police arrived at the scene. They are expected to appear before a Gwinnett County judge on Friday at 1:30 p.m. They are being held at the Gwinnett County Detention Center for Aggravated Assault and Arson.
"It is unclear at this point what the exact reasons were for the attack," said police in a news release on Tuesday. "It is apparent that the brothers launched a plot to kill both of their parents."
According to police, the mother has been released from the hospital, but the father is still receiving treatment for his injuries.