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Ferguson woman charged with fatally stabbing her aunt

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FERGUSON • A woman was charged Thursday afternoon with fatally stabbing her aunt in a Ferguson apartment.

Rhonda V. Rhodes, 50, of the 1300 block of Sharondale Circle, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. She was being held at the St. Louis County Jail in lieu of $250,000 cash bail.

Ferguson police say Rhodes fatally stabbed her aunt, Bernice Winston, 60, early Thursday in Rhodes’ apartment. Police Chief Tom Jackson said a maintenance worker found Winston shortly before 8 a.m.

The worker saw the door ajar, looked in and saw Winston dead on her bed, Jackson said. Officers found Rhodes in the apartment when they arrived.

Winston had multiple stab wounds, apparently from a knife, Jackson said.

Witnesses reported seeing Winston on Wednesday night, Jackson said.

Rhodes admitted to the killing, authorities said. Police offered no motive.

Jackson said police have been called to the Park Ridge Apartments many times for other incidents, and have been working with the complex’s management to have more surveillance cameras installed and off-duty police hired to beef up security.

Samuel Neealy, 26, a neighbor of Winston’s, was shocked by the news of her death. He learned about it from the apartment management.

“If you stayed over here, you pretty much knew her,” Neealy said. “She was a nice lady.”

He said Winston was from Kinloch and many people knew her from there.

“It’s a tragedy when something like this happens,” he said.

Synetra Evans, 30, knew Winston for five years and helped her around her apartment. She waited outside Winston’s apartment until her body was brought out on a gurney, and saw officers escort Winston’s niece to a police car.

“I’m just shocked,” she said. “She was so sweet of a person, and for someone to do something like that to her is just unbelievable.”

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