A 50-year-old woman found slain in her Silver Spring apartment last week was stabbed more than 40 times by her grown son after an argument over his joblessness, according to police officials and court documents made public Monday.
The suspect, Fidel Washington, 25, told detectives that he stabbed his mother, Esperanza Valle, as “a way to control her,” according to charging documents. The two lived together in the high-rise Chateau apartments, and detectives believe Washington killed his mother about 36 hours before her body was discovered and spent at least part of the intervening time in their residence, officials said.
Washington made a brief appearance in court Monday via a video monitor from a Montgomery County jail, where he is being held on a first-degree murder charge. District Judge Barry Hamilton delayed reviewing the terms of his bond pending a mental-health evaluation, so Washington continues to be held without bond.
An attorney for Washington, John Lavigne, didn’t speak about the details of the case during the brief hearing.
Charging documents describe a gruesome scene inside the apartment on the eighth floor of the Chateau Apartment Homes, just south of the Capital Beltway near New Hampshire Avenue. Officers went there Friday morning after a co-worker of Valle’s became concerned that she hadn’t shown up at her job.
The officers knocked on the door, but no one answered. They got a key from the rental office and went inside. The found Valle dead on the floor in the apartment’s main living area.
“The officers also observed blood spatter in the room,” Detective Mike Carin wrote in the charging documents. “The officers heard noise in the back bedroom. The officers checked the bedroom and observed Valle’s son, Fidel Washington, cleaning his room.”
The officers took Washington to a police car, and homicide detectives were called.
Washington originally said that “someone came in and stabbed his mother,” according to police.
Washington was taken to police headquarters and advised of his constitutional rights, and he agreed to speak with detectives, Carin wrote.
“Washington stated he was upset at his mother because she disrespected him,” Carin wrote. “Washington stated he got the knife from the kitchen and prior to stabbing her he thought about it. Washington stated stabbing his mother was a way to control her.”
Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman, said detectives think Washington killed his mother late Wednesday night. He probably left the apartment at some point, Innocenti said, but he was there by the time police arrived Friday morning.
At Monday’s brief hearing, officials recommended that Washington go through a “court diagnostic” evaluation, which typically means a defendant will be seen by a psychologist to determine if he or she is mentally competent to participate in a court proceeding.
Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.