Warrant: Gwinnett brother planned attack on parents for years

The night before they were attacked, Yvonne and Zachary Ervin got a call from one of their sons. He said he and his brother wanted to make the family dinner at their Snellville-area home.

“The mother said this was odd behavior,” according to a Gwinnett County police search warrant obtained Monday, “because the sons had not done this on prior occasions.”

What followed that night, police believe, were Xanax-spiked cocktails. What came the next morning was a brutal assault that left Yvonne Ervin badly beaten, Zachary Ervin stabbed multiple times, and both brothers — 17-year-old Cameron and 22-year-old Christopher — in the Gwinnett County jail.

In the days since the Sept. 5 attack, details about the brothers’ alleged actions have continued to trickle out, first through news releases and incident reports, then through Yvonne Ervin’s frantic 911 call. The search warrant released Monday provides even more insight into the alleged events on Forbes Trail.

Police previously had said that the brothers were “cooperative” during interviews with detectives, but the warrant goes further: It said both admitted to “attempting to set the residence on fire, [attempting to strangle] their parents with a pillow and/or plastic bag, and stabbing the father.”

It also said that “one of the sons … stated that he had been planning this since he was eleven years old.”

The Ervin brothers waived their Friday probable cause hearing in Gwinnett magistrate court. Charged with two counts apiece of aggravated assault and first-degree arson, they are being held at the Gwinnett County jail without bond.

A possible motive in the attack remains unclear. Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that the brothers had hinted at a "bad home life," but no evidence of that had surfaced.

Family friend Derrick Butts told The AJC that the Ervins had “no issues.”

“If you call a troubled home life having everything you ever wanted, then I’ll take that trouble any day,” Butts said.

Yvonne Ervin was released from the hospital a few days after the attack. Zachary Ervin was released Thursday.