Metro-East News

Police investigate bicyclist in man’s steak knife stabbing death

Police are investigating a 23-year-old man in the stabbing death of a 54-year-old man in September in East St. Louis.

William Black was found dead in the 500 block of Broadway Avenue just before 6 p.m. on Sept. 1, Illinois State Police Special Agent Jamie Brunnworth wrote in a search warrant application recently filed. Officers found a bloody steak knife on the ground near Black, with paper towels wrapped around the handle.

Later, an autopsy would reveal that one stab wound to Black’s chest caused his death.

While investigating, Brunnworth wrote, officers reviewed surveillance footage from Club Illusion — across the street from where Black was stabbed.

That footage showed Black walking up to a fire hydrant — on the north side of Broadway Avenue just east of the MetroLink station — and remaining there for approximately 40 minutes until his death, according to the special agent.

While Black was standing at the hydrant, Brunnworth stated, surveillance footage showed a man riding a bicycle past Black four times within about eight minutes.

Then the man on the bicycle dismounted and approached Black.

“Black then falls to the ground while the male runs back to his bicycle,” the special agent wrote.

Footage showed the man biked through the MetroLink parking lot and then turned north onto 6th Street, according to the warrant application. Police tracked the suspect’s movement through East St. Louis using several surveillance videos from locations including Lincoln Middle School on South 10th Street, Windsor Health Center on North Eighth Street, Studio 681 on St. Louis Avenue and the Federal Building on Missouri Avenue.

A week after Black’s death, a business owner contacted police on Sept. 8 and said the person on the bicycle had just rode by. Brunnworth and other special agents traveled to the area.

“As he rode past our vehicle, we asked if we could speak to him,” Brunnworth wrote. “He turned his bicycle around and rode over to us.”

The man, who presented a parole identification card to police, refused to interview with Brunnworth and other officers.

They eventually searched the man’s house and Brunnworth wrote a detective found clothes, a hat and bicycle that all resembled what the suspect was seen wearing and riding in the surveillance footage.

A judge granted the warrant to obtain a DNA sample from the man, which documents indicate Brunnworth collected Sept. 27.

While charges have not been filed in the case, the 23-year-old was arrested on Sept. 15 on a warrant alleging parole violation. He is still in custody at the St. Clair County jail. His previous convictions include burglary, unlawfully possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana.