Florida teen who stabbed, killed uncle said he learned technique from video games, police say

Florida Crimes of the Week: 

A 17-year-old boy was arrested over Labor Day weekend for stabbing and killing his uncle, claiming that he learned from video games that a neck stab could be fatal, according to the Melbourne Police Department.  

The Melbourne Police Department said the incident happened just after 6:30 p.m. on Sunday in the 3000 block of South Babcock Street. They responded to a 911 call from a woman, later identified as the victim's girlfriend, that a man was stabbed and he was dying, an arrest affidavit said. 

When police arrived, they found the boy and his mother lying on the ground "crying and visibly distraught." Police also said there was a bloody, serrated steak knife on the ground next to the boy, which led police to detain him. The mother told police her son was responsible for stabbing the victim, the report said. The boy was detained while police continued their investigation. 

Police then went inside the apartment and found a man, identified as Denareus Ellick, unresponsive on the living room floor surrounded by a large pool of blood. 

Police then pieced together what happened on Sunday evening. 

Investigators learned that the boy, his mother, his uncle and his uncle's girlfriend all lived in a one-bedroom apartment together, the affidavit said. 

Leading up to the alleged stabbing, the uncle and his girlfriend were reportedly having an argument in the bedroom about financial problems and his drug use. During the argument, Ellick climbed on top of her and started to choke his girlfriend with his hands, the police report said. 

That's when the mother entered the room, telling them to stop, the report said. The son also entered the room, but got into a physical fight with Ellick, which then spilled over into the living room.

The uncle's girlfriend told police the son shouldn't have intervened because the argument was over and she was no longer in any danger, the affidavit said. She remained in the room during the fight. 

During the fight between the boy and his uncle, there was a brief break, which is when the boy's mother believed he armed himself with a kitchen knife, the report said. 

The boy told police his uncle told him that "he could have beat him up and killed him if he wanted to," which is what prompted him to grab the steak knife from the sink, the report said. He started to swing the knife at his uncle, telling him to get out of the house, but his mother reportedly told him to put the knife down on the couch. The mother told police she never saw the knife. 

When he put the knife down, his uncle reportedly charged toward him and they started to fight again. Police said Ellick overpowered his nephew and strangled his neck while sitting on top of him. That's when the boy's mother screamed for the fight to stop and they broke apart. 

The son stood up at this time, grabbed the knife from the couch and followed after Ellick, who as backing up and retreating toward the bedroom. He swung the knife at his uncle's neck and missed on the first try, but aimed and swung a second time, striking the right side of his neck. 

The mother said she didn't see the stabbing. The uncle's girlfriend, who remained in the room during the fight, came out to find him on the couch by himself with blood squirting from his neck, the affidavit said. Moments before, the boy and his mother reportedly left the apartment, but the girlfriend found them outside. 

The son reportedly yelled toward the girlfriend that he was "sorry" and the mother told her that he had stabbed Ellick. 

The girlfriend went back inside and applied pressure to his wound with her hand before calling 911. 

He was transported to a local hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival. 

After the boy was transported to the Criminal Investigation Division, he told police that he learned from video games that a stab to the neck would be fatal, the affidavit said. 

Police also asked the boy if he had no other option but to stab his uncle, to which he replied that he didn't. "He could have left the home and/or called 911," the report said, adding that the boy didn't feel threatened or fearful of his uncle when he decided to stab him. 


Police said they found blood on the boy's clothing, presumed to belong to Ellick. He also had minor red marks on his neck, but no visible injuries pointing to a "violent, life-threatening physical altercation," the affidavit said. 

The boy was charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault.