By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 22, 2010; B01
A District man was charged in the stabbing death of his mother whose body was found decomposing in their Southeast Washington apartment only after his younger brother was pushed from a third-floor window, police and court papers said Friday.
Authorities charged Christopher Martin, 24, with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Patricia Ann Martin. The family lived in the 4200 block of Fourth Street SE.
Martin pushed his younger brother, who is in his late teens or early 20s and is mentally disabled, out of the family's apartment about 3:45 p.m. Thursday, according to court papers and officials. As the younger brother was being taken to a hospital, he told paramedics, "My mother is dead, and I want to go upstairs and check on her," court documents say.
When paramedics asked how he knew his mother was dead, he said, "She's been dead a long time. My brother did it. My brother hit my eye and hurt my mommy. He locked the door and hurt my mommy."
When police arrived at the apartment, they found a decomposed body in the locked master bedroom. The body was so badly decomposed that a positive identification was not possible. Authorities determined the identity based on documents, including the lease in Patricia Ann Martin's name, and identification found in the bedroom. Martin, for whom no age was immediately available, was last seen Monday.
According to court records, an autopsy has not been completed but a visual inspection of the body found "multiple defects consistent with wounds from a sharp object" on the victim's left cheek, ear, neck, left eye, chin, right rib and left side. Because of the body's decomposition, the number of wounds could not be determined without the autopsy results.
Detectives found several cleaning agents and deodorizers around the body, the court papers say.
On Thursday, after he was pushed from the window, the younger brother knocked on a neighbor's door just as Christopher Martin was walking down the hall, the court papers say. The neighbor asked Martin what was wrong with his brother, and Martin said his brother jumped out the window.
The neighbor told authorities that the younger brother was hysterical and said Martin pushed him out the window, causing his face to swell and a cut nose, the documents say.
The younger brother then told the neighbor that Martin pulled his mother from her bed to the floor and began stabbing her.
Martin, who witnesses said used a glove and sock to cover his hand after the stabbing, was arrested at 403 Ridge Rd., the documents say. When police told him that his mother's body was found, Martin requested a lawyer.
Martin had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court for a previous assault charge.
At Friday's hearing, prosecutors asked D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Karen Howze to hold Martin in jail until his next hearing. Howze agreed. "He is unlikely to abide by any conditions of release and is a danger to the community," she said.
Staff writer Mary Pat Flaherty contributed to this report.