A Prince George’s County circuit court jury on Nov. 15 found a District Heights woman not guilty of murdering her 18-year-old roommate at Bowie State University.
Alexis Simpson, 20, faced first- and second-degree murder charges, among others, in the fatal stabbing of Dominique Frazier, 18, of Washington, D.C., inside their on-campus apartment Sept. 15, 2011.
During the three-day trial, both prosecutors and defense attorneys said Simpson and Frazier had been arguing since moving into the same apartment more than two weeks before the incident, but they stood by several conflicting details as to what took place that night.
On Sept. 15, 2011, Frazier and two friends were listening to music on an iPod and getting ready to go to a homecoming comedy show when Simpson came in and turned the music off, sparking a dispute between the two that went from Frazier’s bedroom to the living room and then back to Frazier’s bedroom, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors also said when the fight finished in the living room, Simpson went to her own bedroom, grabbed a knife and walked toward Frazier’s bedroom, where the final confrontation ensued.
Defense attorneys said Frazier also had a knife in her bedroom before Simpson entered, but it was unclear as to what was done with that knife. Prosecutors said Frazier placed it in her dresser, and defense attorneys said one of Frazier’s friends was holding it during the fight.
Prosecutors also said Simpson rushed into Frazier’s bedroom to continue, and end, the fight, while defense attorneys said she was pulled in and was just trying to go to the bathroom, which was next to Frazier’s room.
Simpson and her defense attorneys said she felt scared and threatened throughout her time living with Frazier and felt that Frazier and her friends would “jump her.”
Defense attorney Christopher Griffiths also said Simpson had gone to property management previously to try to request a room change.
“Alexis Simpson acted in self-defense. She had high hopes for the school year. She wasn’t looking for any trouble,” Griffiths said to the jury before it went into deliberation Nov. 15. “That little girl was not trying to hurt anybody. She just wanted to be left alone. She swung. That is perfect self-defense.”
Prosecutors, however, said it was Simpson who was provoking arguments and taunting Frazier.
“Each and every step she took as she grabbed the knife, she had time to think about what she was doing. She had time to think out the consequences of slashing Dominique’s throat,” said state prosecutor Christine Murphy.
When Simpson testified in court, she admitted to stabbing Frazier with a knife during a heated argument inside their apartment. She said it was never her attempt to stab Frazier and that she just swung the blade in front of her as self-defense to get Frazier and Frazier’s friends away from her.
“I was scared. I didn’t want any more confrontation,” Simpson said, crying as she testified. “I never wanted to stab her ... I didn’t mean to kill her.”
Prosecutors said the medical staff that testified earlier in the trial had said the wound in Frazier’s neck was two inches deep, her trachea and jugular were severed and her vertebrae was chipped. Prosecutors said Frazier also had a stab wound in her left arm, which they said was from Simpson’s first swing. Her finger also had been slashed, which prosecutors said was from Frazier lifting her arm to try to protect herself from being stabbed.
County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said she was “stunned” and “disappointed,” but respects the jury’s verdict and the judicial system.