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A man strangled a woman before beating her to death with the ceramic lid of a toilet in a hotel room in Washington, D.C., according to new court documents.

The Metropolitan Police Department said officers responded to a report of an unconscious person in the 1600 block of New York Avenue Northeast at about 11:20 a.m. Friday. Once inside a hotel room at the location, they found a woman, identified as 36-year-old Romaine Maddox, suffering from apparent trauma to the body, according to a news release. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

William Barrett, 59, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Maddox, who was found dead on Friday by an employee at the Ivy City Hotel.

Detectives determined that Barrett and Maddox arrived at the hotel at about 7:20 p.m. on Thursday, according to FOX 5 DC. Barrett told detectives that he and Maddox had been engaged in a romantic relationship for more than a year.


DC Police Department's SUV

A man strangled a woman before beating her to death with the ceramic lid of a toilet in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Court documents state the pair went into room 123 at the hotel and neither were seen again on surveillance footage until about 10:20 p.m., when police say Maddox can be seen walking out of the hotel room completely nude. She appeared to be locked out of the room for a few minutes before going back inside and staying there until just after 1 a.m.

At about 1:15 a.m., police say Maddox left the room wearing only underwear and Barrett later walked out, completely nude, appearing to search for her. The two returned to the room five minutes later and, within an hour, police say audio captured what sounded like a woman screaming “get off me” and “help.”

After that, nobody was seen leaving or entering the room until Barrett left shortly after 9 a.m.

The hotel employee entered the room at about 11 a.m. before being seen on camera quickly shutting the door and running down the hallway, according to the affidavit.


Police car

William Barrett, 59, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of 36-year-old Romaine Maddox. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Police arrested Barrett after reviewing the surveillance video and collecting evidence from the room, including the toilet tank cover that had been broken into three pieces. Detectives said Barrett had blood on his head and face, his cell phone, two pairs of gloves, his boxers and belt at the time of his arrest.

Barrett allegedly told police that he and Maddox engaged in an argument that turned physical after checking into the hotel. He said Maddox began punching him and “was running her mouth,” leading him to choke her with his belt until she fell unconscious.


He allegedly said he thought he had killed Maddox after choking her, but she suddenly woke up and began screaming for help. Barrett then punched her, grabbed the lid of the toilet tank and hit her with it multiple times, eventually causing the lid to break into pieces. 

Maddox suffered blunt force trauma to the forehead, deformities to her head and several lacerations, according to court documents. Barrett said he fell asleep after the attack and when he woke up, Maddox was not moving and her body was cold.

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