Metro-East News

Swansea murder suspect tells police victim stabbed him first

Alvin Harris Jr.
Alvin Harris Jr. Provided

Alvin Harris Jr. of East St. Louis called his ex-girlfriend and mother of his three children Charna Wooten from inside his current girlfriend’s Swansea apartment and told her that he stabbed Sharetta Day 10 times, according to a search warrant filed by Swansea Police in St. Clair County Court on Monday, because she stabbed him first and he “just snapped.”

Wooten came to the scene after getting a call from Harris who was barricaded in Day’s apartment, telling police Harris told her during that phone call that he was going to die or go to jail for the rest of his life. When she asked for an explanation, Wooten told police Harris said he stabbed his girlfriend 10 times. He didn’t mention that he stabbed Day’s 9-year-old son, who was being airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis in critical condition suffering from a stab wound to the neck.

It was a call from Harris’ own 9-year-old daughter that caused Harris to turn himself over to police, according to the court documents.

During that call, the search warrant stated that Harris told his daughter that he stabbed Day because “he was tired.” He had told the girl he was afraid that Day was going to be thrown out of the apartment.

While Harris, 38, was at the hospital being treated for stab wounds he claimed came from Day, the search warrant stated that Swansea Police Officer Andrew Hewitt heard Harris say, “Please, God, let her be okay. Things just got out of hand.”

But Day, 38, was not okay. She was dead in the parking lot of her apartment complex at 270 Marcella in Swansea.

Illinois State Police Crime Scene Investigator James Randolph recovered a black-handled knife and a white-handled knife from the floor of the bedroom in Day’s apartment, the court document stated. He also took samples from the parking lot, sidewalk, living room floor and wall, kitchen floor and front door. Randolph also took Day’s cellphone into evidence.

On Monday, Harris was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child. He remains in St. Clair County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson said Tuesday that Day’s son was doing “physically better.”

Swansea police had made no previous domestic violence calls to Day’s home before the stabbing, Johnson said.

Court records show that two months before Day’s death, East St. Louis police were called to the 1900 block of Trendley after they received a call that Harris kicked in the front door of a home, breaking the frame and hinge. Harris was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property.

Queen Esther Brown, the mother of Crystal Wells, a former girlfriend of Harris, later asked the court to issue an order barring Harris from contacting her. In that petition, she described a frantic Harris coming to her door in the middle of the night, saying someone was trying to kill him.

“I opened the door to find him bare chested and yelling someone was trying to kill him,” Brown wrote. “I told him he could not stay here, that he had to leave. He refused and I said I’m calling the police.”

Harris then kicked the door open and was arrested by police. Brown stated in the petition that Harris may be considered “armed and/or dangerous.”

Wells asked a court for a no contact order the same day as Brown, May 8.

She stated Harris continually called and texted her and walked around her home and at night came onto her back porch. She tried to ignore him, she wrote in the petition asking the court to bar contact, but Wells said he began using other phones to try to contact her.

“That’s why guys shoot their females in the head,” Harris allegedly told Wells during one of those calls from a borrowed phone.

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at or 618-239-2570. Follow her on Twitter: @bhundsdorfer.