Yesterday, Joseph Randolph Mays was arraigned on homicide charges for allegedly murdering his girlfriend Erika Peters and her two young sons in their Carver Terrace apartment on Saturday. In filings before the court, the D.C. police wrote a narrative of what transpired on that Saturday afternoon. It is the first detailed account of the triple murder that took place at 2000 Maryland Ave. NE, Apt. 104.

The details are incredibly sad. At first, there appeared to be some confusion between the officer and the dispatcher about the nature of the call for Apt. 104. The dispatcher believed that the call for “trouble” may have been just a joke.

Sgt. Tyshena Wallace of cruiser 553 arrived on the scene and began knocking on the door. Sgt. Wallace heard a voice from within the apartment saying, ‘no, stop.’ Sgt. Wallace did not hear anything else. Sgt. Wallace called the dispatcher and advised her to utilize the call back. The dispatcher advised that every time she called the phone number, the call intercept came on blocking the call. Sgt. Wallace asked the dispatcher, ‘what was the call for’ and the dispatcher advised, ‘a child screaming on the phone possibly playing.’

Eventually, a second officer arrives on the scene. Officer Karim begins to knock on the door of Apt. 104 while Sgt. Wallace calls the Peters home.

Sgt. Wallace could hear the phone ringing within the apartment, but no one responded to the phone call. Captain Lamar West arrived on the scene and approved forced entry into the apartment. The fire board was requested to respond to the scene. Thereafter the fire board arrived on the scene and forced entry into the apartment. Upon attempting to gain entry the firemen had difficulties opening the door.

At this point, how much time elapsed becomes a huge question. Fire department spokesperson Alan Etter says that an engine was dispatched at 1:44 p.m. What fire personnel found inside, the document states, was horrifying.

Upon pushing the door open a fireman screamed, ‘we have a male child on the floor by the door bleeding!’ This victim was later identified as 10-year-old ‘D.P.’ The difficulty of the door being opened was due to the fact that there was a bar ‘propped’ up behind the door, barricading the door for entry. Sgt. Wallace requested medical personnel to respond to the scene. Once inside, Sgt. Wallace and Officer Karim began to clear the apartment for safety. The officers walked to the rear of the apartment and observed a black female laying unconscious and unresponsive in the hallway. This victim was later identified as 37-year-old Erika Peters.

The officers worked their way through the apartment. Behind a locked room, an officer found Mays.

Proceeding down the hallway to the door on the left, which was locked, Officer Karim kicked the door open and observed a black adult male (subsequently identified as defendant Joseph Mays) laying face down on the floor, attempting to appear unconscious. Officer Karim observed a large hunting knife on a small dresser next to the defendant. Sgt. Wallace also observed a female toddler, kneeling on the floor crying, toward the left of the defendant.

Officer Karim went to the next room, the bathroom.

Inside the bathroom, Officer Karim located another victim, unconscious and unresponsive. This victim was later identified as 11-year-old ‘E.P.’ The fire board attended to D.P., carried him out the apartment, and transported him to Children’s Hospital. Moments later additional medics began carrying out the defendant on a stretcher and transported him to MedStar.

Detectives M.W. Johnson and Douglas Reynolds followed Mays to Washington Hospital Center. They questioned Mays at the hospital. Mays talked freely.

The defendant provided his name as Joseph Randolph Mays, residing at 2000 Maryland Avenue, Northeast, apartment #104. The defendant also correctly stated the date and provided his correct phone number. When the defendant was asked, ‘what happened?’ the defendant stated, ‘my girlfriend and her son [E.P.] has been fucking with me for the past three days, I was fixing my little girl’s hair.’ Detective Johnson stopped the defendant and asked him ‘how old is your little girl?’ The defendant replied, ‘three years old.’ The defendant then stated, ‘I told them to stop fucking with me, they would not leave me.’

Mays continued for a moment. What he said was unclear to detectives.

When the detectives again asked the defendant [what] happened, the defendant stated that he ‘blacked out’ and could not remember. The defendant was taken to X-ray and the interview ended.

It was the doctor’s turn to check Mays out.

Medical personnel found that the defendant had superficial wounds to the left side of his chest. According to the treating physician, these wounds appeared to be self-inflicted.

The document then provides a breakdown of the fatal injuries to Erika Peters and her two sons.

Pursuant to additional investigation it was determined that the apartment was barricaded from the inside and there was no blood outside of the apartment. Decedent [Erika] Peters was found laying supine in the hallway of the apartment suffering from multiple stab wounds to the chest, face, and head, with defensive wounds to the hands. The juvenile E.P. was observed in the back bathroom laying with his back against the base of the wall next to the toilet, suffering multiple stab wounds to the chest and one large laceration to the right side of [his] head. The second juvenile D.P. was observed at Children’s Hospital by detectives R. Cephas and E. Fenton of the Homicide Unit with an apparent stab wound to the back of the neck, head and right ear. Juvenile D.P. was pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital by Dr. Kline at 2:40 p.m.

Officers found physical evidence at the scene that appears to tie Mays to the murders.

A knife and a hand-written note were found on the scene. Specifically, the defendant was found in a locked bedroom in the apartment. In that same bedroom, within the defendant’s reach, officers observed a large, hunting-style knife with blood on it. The tip of the knife was broken off. The knife was positioned on top of a hand-written note. Only parts of the note were legible, including phrases, ‘I’m sorry… I tried to make it work…’

The document goes on to provide information taken from a witness interview. The witness, a relative of the victims, stated the two boys had reported the defendant “would throw them down to the ground, place his knee on the back of their necks, pin their arms behind their backs, and beat them.” The witness stated that they had seen the victims with black eyes and that they were terrified of being left alone with Mays.

At 9:59 p.m., an investigator with the medical examiner arrived at Apt. 104 and pronounced Erika Peters and E.P. dead. “All three bodies were transported to the Medical Examiner’s office pending autopsies,” the document states. All three had been stabbed through the skull.

Decedent Erika Peters had suffered the most stab wounds, with more than one dozen stab wounds to the chest alone. Additionally, a small piece of metal, [consistent] with the tip of a knife, was found embedded in the right rear portion of her skull.

Once Mays was released from the hospital, he was taken to the Homicide Unit where he was read his rights and processed.

Photo courtesy of WJLA-TV