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Police: Brother kills former ECU football player

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:29:57 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 10 2013 05:36:28 PM CST

A former ECU football player was murdered by his older brother in Greensboro, police said.

Darren Blacknall (pictured left), 30, has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing his brother, 24-year-old Derek Blacknall (pictured right).

According to police, Darren and Derek, both of Willard Street in Greensboro, got into a verbal dispute before 10 p.m. Monday. When officers arrived, they found that Derek was stabbed.

Derek was transported to a local medical facility, where he was later pronounced dead, police said. At least one stab wound was fatal, according to officers.

The investigation is ongoing. Derek and Darren shared their home with their mother, said police. She was not hurt.

Derek Blacknall, a former defensive back who wore number 26, was with the Pirates program from 2007 to 2011, but was redshirted during his initial season, according to his ECU bio.

Phillip Henry was a wide receiver for the Pirates when Blacknall came into the program. His locker was directly across from Blacknall's, and Henry had seen him and his brother together. "Every time that they were together, it never was a thing where you thought that that would ever happen," said Henry.

Coach Ruffin McNeill says it's like losing a family member. "How do you deal with losing one of your sons," he said. "We just gained another Pirate upstairs with the big coach, the big head coach."

McNeill says Blacknall's passing only means there's one more pair of eyes to look after the ECU Football squad. "I'm gonna ask Derek to make sure he protects us with the officials and don't let 'em cheat on the Pirates," said McNeill.

Blacknall was a graduate of James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro.

His brother, Darren, has a history of arrests from 1999 to present day, including burglary, drug, robbery, assault and trespassing charges, police said.