Police: Alexandria Woman Killed by Boyfriend; Friends Say She Tried to Leave Him

"He was saying, 'I told you, it's 'til death do us part, it's 'til death do us part,'" the victim's friend said

A man stabbed his girlfriend to death in Alexandria, Virginia, early Thursday, according to police, and her friends say she had been trying to leave him and he lashed out. 

Dasheria Barksdale, 30, died after Melvin Williams, 23, stabbed her in an apartment on the 900 block of N. Henry Street in North Old Town, the Alexandria Police Department said. A friend who tried to help Barksdale also was stabbed and was in critical condition.

"He was saying, 'I told you, it's 'til death do us part, it's 'til death do us part. I told you I'm gonna kill you,'" a second friend, Shakiylah Edwards, told News4 about the horrific attack she also tried to stop.

Police have not yet spoken about a motive in the crime. 

Williams turned the knife on himself, and he also was in critical condition, police said. 

Edwards sobbed as she spoke about her desperate attempts to pull her friend out of a room she said Williams pulled Barksdale into.

"I was trying to pull her out, but every time I pulled, he would stab. So, I just had to leave her," Edwards said, in apparent shock.

Barksdale had been trying to break things off with her longtime boyfriend, her friends said. But he returned to the apartment last night and put a knife to the young woman's throat.

"She did leave him, and he came back and killed her," Edwards said.

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Edwards' brother, Darrell Edwards, tried to intervene.

"The door slammed and half of us are shut out, half of us are shut in, and we just heard screaming," Shakiylah Edwards said.

Williams had a cloth soaked in lighter fluid that he threatened to light, she said.

"I don't know where I found the strength. I bust through the door and all I see is my brother jumping out the window, because apparently he had been stabbed by Melvin," Shakiylah Edwards continued.

When police arrived after a call about 1:30 a.m., they found Darrell Edwards on the ground beneath the second-floor window from which he had jumped.

Barksdale was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Darrell Edwards underwent surgery, but his sister said she believed he would pull through. 

Williams was in a hospital and in police custody on Thursday. On Friday, he was charged with first-degree murder. He is being held without bond. 

Fairfax County, Virginia, is sprawling but has only two domestic violence shelters. Bethany House of Northern Virginia sheltered 43 women and 57 children last year, but they got calls for help for more than 300 people. "To be able to say yes to even two or three more families would make a world of a difference for a mom who is trying to flee," the organization's executive director told News4's Julie Carey.

Williams is well-known in the apartment complex. People who know him said he previously acted violently. On Tuesday, he threw Barksdale's kitten and two ferrets out of a window, her friends said. The kitten had to have a leg amputed, and one ferret ran off. Barksdale's friends questioned why he wasn't arrested or jailed then.

Outside the homes Thursday afternoon, Barksdale's friends mourned the sudden loss.

"She was a beautiful person and had a beautiful smile. She will be missed," friend Jerry Blake said.

"She was so sweet. She didn't deserve it. She just wanted some peace," Shakiylah Edwards said.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information for police is asked to call 703-746-6689.

Barksdale is the fourth person killed in a homicide in Alexandria this year.

For full coverage of domestic violence and how you can get get help, see News4's Safe at Home series.

Here are a few resources:
Virginia Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline: 800-838-8238Maryland Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-634-3577
DC Victim Hotline: 844-443-5732

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