Lakisha Young charged with voluntary manslaughter

A woman who stabbed her boyfriend in the heart in front of her children has been charged with voluntary manslaughter while armed and was released Thursday.

Lakisha Young, 42, was originally charged by police with second-degree murder while armed in the death of Alan Smith, 50, on July 9.

On Thursday, Young’s attorney, David Maxted, argued for Young to be released because she had no prior convictions and says she acted in self-defense. Judge Robert Morin granted her the release conditions in addition to a stay-away order requiring her not to contact her children.

On July 9, the Metropolitan Police Department responded to a call of a stabbing at the 2300 block of Hartford St. SE. DC Police found Smith, lying and bleeding on the hallway floor of his apartment with a stab wound to the chest.

Joshua Brand, a homicide detective with the MPD was questioned during Young’s preliminary hearing Thursday. Brand said in court he found four witnesses as well as Young at the apartment. He interviewed the witnesses, but said Young couldn’t answer questions partly due to her being intoxicated. Three of the witnesses, who are Young’s children, were waiting in a witness’ apartment for the police to show up.

Young’s children told Brand that Young and Smith had been arguing earlier about an alleged affair Young was having. Young and Smith were drunk during the argument. Young’s children told Brand arguments like these were fairly commonplace but no physical altercations or threats ever arose from them, so no one had felt it necessary to call 911.

At one point, Smith left the apartment to calm down. He returned an hour or two later and Young reignited the argument. Upon his return, Smith went into the master bedroom where the argument took an aggressive turn.

They told Brand’s partner in a follow-up interview that Young continued to yell at Smith and at one point became violent, trying to hit Smith with her bare hands. He grabbed her by the wrists and managed to temporarily restrain her. The child watching this altercation then returned to their room.

Smith managed to exit the master bedroom and went into the living room, Young followed him there where, according to one of her children, she was wielding a pocket knife. Smith held her off with a chair he picked up and then dropped it. According to Brand, Young then chased Smith around the living room coffee table when the child yelled out “Stop!”

After chasing Smith around the coffee table, Young stabbed Smith in the heart, he went back to the hall leading to the master bedroom and collapsed outside of the bathroom.

Young went into a panic yelling “I’m sorry” and immediately began seeking help from other apartment residents by banging on their doors. One of her children tried to apply pressure to Smith’s wound by using their siblings’ bed sheet, but it didn’t help. One child proceeded to exit the apartment building to call 911, while the other went into another witnesses apartment room across the hall. Young followed suite and broke down in tears on the building’s stoop where she was found with the child by the MPD.

The witness who responded to Young’s cries for help ended up taking the other children into their apartment to keep them away from the scene of the crime during the MPD investigation that morning. They told the MPD that Young had red marks on her neck.

The MPD arrested Young and charged her with second-degree murder while armed, but in light of the situation the court found her actions to be in self-defense as she had previous disputes with Smith which were unknown to her children.

Maxted pointed out a civil protection case Young filed in 2014 asking for a stay-away order on Smith due to a physical altercation where Smith put his hands around Young’s neck. The restraint was later dismissed, as the Assistant U.S. Attorney Alesha Long pointed out, because neither party appeared to a follow-up trial that was scheduled three weeks after the initial case was filed.

The civil protection case cited multiple wounds to Young’s neck, bicep, lower back, thigh, and back of her lower leg. Long called Rachel Primo, an MPD Public Defense’s Service investigator, to the stand who could not verify the nature of the injuries or when they allegedly occurred. Primo only said that another PDS agent told her of the injuries and assumed them to be real.

A status hearing is scheduled for Sept. 2 at 9:30 a.m.