For 22-year-old Joyce D. Robertson Arlington, July 25 was a night on the town: She danced, drank champagne, and rode about Washington in a chauffeur-driven limousine with a man she had met in at a popular District disco.
Her friend gave her a large stuffed animal -- a white cloth-covered buffalo -- and the couple went home to her apartment where roommates heard them laughing and listening to music behind her closed bedroom door.
Less than 48 hours later, friends found her dead -- strangled with the cord to her own bathrobe, her body marked with welts from a small whip. At her side was the headless corpse of her pet parakeet.
Police have charged Robertson's companion, 20-year-old skip Adams taylor, with murder, and prosecution witnesses yesterday detailed what they believe happened to her in a pretrial hearing in General District Court in Arlington.
Judge Thomas R. Monroe later sent the case to a county grand jury, which will decide next week whether to indict Taylor. Taylor has been in custody in the Arlington jail since his July 28 arrest.
According to prosecutor Kenneth E. Nelson, police who went to arrest Taylor at his Northwest Washington home found stereo equipment, luggage and clothing taken from Robertson's apartment in the Dolley Madison Towers. a
On the evening of July 25, Taylor dined at a bar before meeting Robertson at the Pier 9 disco in Southwest, according to testimony by Julius Boughton, a chauffeur whose services Taylor had won for one night in a raffle. Police have said that both Taylor and Robertson patronized the Pier 9 regularly.
The two spent much of the evening together in the disco and car before directing the driver to take them to Robertson's apartment, Boughton said. Boughton said he waited outside Robertson's building until Taylor came downstairs barefoot and told him his services were no longer needed.
One of Robertson's two male roommates, who share a bedroom in the apartment, according to testimony, said he and the second man left for a weekend trip shortly after she arrived home. It was his possessions that were later found in Taylor's home, he said.
Robertson told a friend who called the next morning that she had a house guest, and a cab driver testified that he drove Taylor from her apartment to his home just before 2 p.m. -- a short time after a medical examiner estimated she was killed. Thomas had several pieces of heavy luggage with him, the cab driver testified.
No one saw Robertson again until her body was discovered Sunday night, July 27, after worried friends persuaded a Dolley Madison desk clerk to let them check her 10th-floor apartment.
Robertson's bathrobe cord was tied around her neck so tightly that a single finger could not be slipped under it, said Dr. James Beyer, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy.
Beyer said he found about 10 whip marks on Robertson's chest, and thighs, and on her abdomen and buttocks. Police found a small whip in the apartment, Arlington police detective Edward W. Gabrielson testified. The stuffed animal and a bracelet with the name "Skip" -- tangled in clothes hangers -- were also discovered in the apartment, Gabrielson said.