The son of a woman slain more than 29 years ago said Wednesday that his goal has always been to bring his mother’s killer to justice.
Dewayne Jones said he believes his stepfather killed his mother, ditched her three sons at a Juneteenth celebration and returned to their home to make it look like she was killed during a burglary.
The stepfather, Paul Christopher Ervin, now 59, is on trial this week, charged with murder in the June 19, 1985, slaying of Linda Ervin, 26. If Ervin is convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
“I’ve wanted to bring my mother’s killer to justice ever since I was discharged from the military,” Jones testified. “But I’m not mad at him anymore. It took me a lifetime, but I’ve learned how to forgive him.”
On the day Linda Ervin was killed, Jones testified, he was 9, barefoot and got locked out of his home in the 4700 block of Richardson Street in southeast Fort Worth. He knocked on the door, and was surprised when Ervin answered because he was supposed to be at work. Ervin told Jones to stop knocking because his mother was sleeping, and then Ervin closed the door in his face. Jones testified.
Jones testified that he continued to knock, but Ervin did not answer the door again until about 8 p.m. Then Ervin rushed Jones and Linda Ervin’s other two sons into his car and prevented Jones from going inside to get shoes.
At the Sycamore Park Juneteenth celebration, a festival established to commemorate the day slaves in Texas received word that they had been freed, the three boys lost sight of Ervin, Jones said.
Jones said he returned to the place where Ervin parked the car, but the car wasn’t there. More than two hours passed before Ervin returned to the park, Jones testified. When the children asked where he had gone, Ervin replied that he had been at the park the whole time.
Jones said he told Ervin that he had not been at the park.
“I think my mother was already dead,” Jones testified. “I think he went back and staged it. This is the first time this person ever took us someplace without our mother. This is the first time I had ever been locked out of the house.”
Defense attorney Mike Heiskell said that his client walked into a crime scene after bringing the boys home from the park. Ervin saw that the house was in disarray and that his wife was motionless on the bed, according to testimony from Sgt. Rick Whaley, one of the officers who investigated the scene.
Ervin told police then that two items were taken from the house.
One was a Smith and Wesson blue steel revolver and the other was a cassette tape player, Whaley said.
“Burglars like to steal guns if they can find them,” Whaley said.
Testimony is expected to continue Thursday in state District Judge Wayne Salvant’s court.