IMAGE: Brian Gilbert
AP
A photo provided by Chicago police shows Brian Gilbert, 36, of Chicago, who was charged Thursday with killing two young brothers and stabbing their 13-year-old sister.
updated 4/27/2007 10:00:36 PM ET 2007-04-28T02:00:36

A man who told police he was disciplining his girlfriend's sons over chores when the situation escalated pleaded not guilty Friday to fatally stabbing the boys and sexually assaulting their 13-year-old sister.

The bodies of the boys, ages 12 and 14, were found at their home early Thursday, around the time their mother was arriving home from her job at O'Hare International Airport. They had been stabbed repeatedly with a steak knife.

Brian Gilbert, 36, a convicted sex offender, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and sexual assault. He pleaded not guilty Friday and ordered held without bail. A message left with his public defender, Kristina Yi, was not immediately returned.

Gilbert went to the apartment to return a cell phone and bus pass that the mother had lent him when he decided to discipline the boys about cleaning up, Deputy Police Chief Michael Shields said.

He allegedly became angry and struck the older boy with a barbell and stabbed him, authorities said.

Prosecutors: Girl escapes
Prosecutors said Gilbert had put the bodies in a closet and had started to clean up the blood when the woman arrived home. She told authorities she became alarmed when she found Gilbert, whom she had been dating for only a few weeks, outside her apartment.

Gilbert told her the children were missing and they left to search for them, prosecutors said.

Around that time, the daughter "was able to loosen the ties around her hands and fled the apartment, half naked, letting out a scream as she was running down the street to a nearby gas station," prosecutor Luann Snow said in court.

The mother and Gilbert heard the scream and Gilbert, "realizing there was a surviving victim, told the mother he was going to call the police, something was wrong and he left," Snow said.

The mother found a nearby officer and followed police into the home.

‘I saw my baby boy’
"I saw my youngest slumped in the side of a closet in the living room," the mother said. "I saw my baby boy."

The girl, who was stabbed in the neck, was in good condition at a hospital Friday.

Gilbert could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.

The Associated Press is not identifying the mother and sons in order to protect the identity of the daughter, the alleged victim of a sex crime.

Gilbert was convicted in 1998 of the predatory criminal sexual assault of one of his family members, Shields said.

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond had said earlier that the suspect was a registered sex offender.

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