The woman suspected of fatally stabbing Karen Jordan in a Northeast D.C. apartment on Saturday evening had been ordered by the court to stay away from her while awaiting trial for assaulting her.
Stephanie Lawson appeared in DC Superior Court Monday to be presented with a charge of second-degree murder in connection with Jordan’s death. Finding substantial probability, the court ordered Lawson held pending a preliminary hearing.
According to charging documents in the case, Lawson, Jordan and another person were all together in Lawson’s 16th Street Northeast apartment on Saturday evening. Lawson said all three had been drinking when Jordan and Lawson got into an argument.
Lawson “remembered picking up the folding knife and before she knew it [Jordan] had gotten into her face again and she, Lawson, swung at [Jordan]… Lawson said she did not mean to hurt [Jordan] but things happened quickly.”
Lawson also told detectives that Jordan had threatened to kill her and she was afraid for her life.
The charging documents do not state what the argument was between the women. Charging documents in Lawson’s assault case state that Lawson was observed by an on-duty cop telling Jordan “Bitch I should punch you in the face,” then punching Jordan in the right eye. After that incident, Jordan told police that she was attempting to walk outside when she saw Lawson. Jordan said she moved to the side of the stairwell to let Lawson pass, but was punched anyways.
That incident took place at the same address on 16th Street Northeast.
In court Monday, Judge Karen Howze said Lawson had “horrifically” failed to comply with the stay-away order that prohibited Lawson from being near Jordan.
Lawson’s attorney Lauren Bernstein said however, that Jordan was in Lawson’s apartment when she was killed and that she was in fear for her life because Jordan had threatened to kill her. Additionally, Lawson’s injuries, while fatal, amounted to one stab wound and not several, Bernstein said.
“This is consistant with self-defense,” Bernstein told the court.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30 with Judge Lynn Leibovitz.