Fashion Designer Gets 39 Years for Fatal Stabbing of Roommate

Herbert Van Stephens reportedly dressed Oprah Winfrey, Lena Horne and Will Smith

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Herbert Van Stephens

    A man who reportedly once dressed Oprah Winfrey and guests on her talk show has been sentenced to prison for fatally stabbing his roommate last year during a fight in their Chicago home.

    Herbert Van Stephens on Wednesday was sentenced to 39 years in prison in the March 2012 murder of 25-year-old John Atkinson. Atkinson was originally from Texas, according to an online obituary.

    Van Stephens was convicted in January of first-degree murder.

    Prosecutors said the 53-year-old Van Stephens and Atkinson were arguing when Van Stephens grabbed a knife and stabbed Atkinson more than 50 times.

    A third roommate called authorities, who found Atkinson on the floor and Van Stephens on the telephone talking to relatives, police said.

    Van Stephens was hospitalized in critical condition.

    Police initially described Van Stephens and Atkinson as "mutual combatants."

    Reports the Chicago Tribune:

    In a 2002 Chicago Tribune interview, Van Stephens was noted for having clothed Winfrey, Horne and Smith. At the time, he was one of six local designers who won a competition to have their items displayed and sold at the former Marshall Fields.