An executive of a Washington computer services firm was stabbed in the chest and fatally wounded Thursday night in the hallway of her Capitol Hill area apartment house in what police said was an apparent robbery.

Brenda Joyce Slade, 37, identified as director of support services of the Columbia Services Group, was stabbed about 10:45 p.m. as she was trying to get into her apartment at 1321 East Capitol St., D.C. police reported.

"I heard loud banging and screaming at my door and someone calling my name," said Derek Culpepper, a friend of Slade's who lives in the same recently renovated, four-story brick apartment house.

Culpepper said he had been taking a bath on the lower level of his duplex apartment and that by the time he reached the door on the upper level, "she was collapsed on the floor in a pool of blood" and could not speak.

"She died . . . while I was holding her," he said. An ambulance was requested but emergency workers could find no vital signs, he added. Slade was pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m. at D.C. General Hospital.

Culpepper said Slade's purse could not be found. Homicide investigators said that they were not certain of a motive but that it appeared to be robbery. They said that no arrest had been made.

A friend said that Slade, one of several sisters who lived in the Washington area, had been out with them Thursday night.

One of the owners of the apartment house said last night that the front door of the building is kept locked and that "we've never had any trouble in it."

Calling Slade "a superprofessional," Emmett Anderson, president of the Columbia Services Group, said she "had complete and total responsibility for all support activity with my company."

Anderson said Slade was manager of a project for training federal employes in Washington, Philadelphia and Atlanta to use government-provided personal computers and associated software in their work.

Acquaintances said Slade, who was studying for a masters degree in business administration, had previously worked for Xerox, Entre Computer and MBI.

After joining MBI, a major computer retailer, as a sales representative a few years ago, she rose quickly to become sales manager in the Philadelphia region and did "a fine job," according to a former MBI executive.