- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2012

A D.C. woman who walked away from a group home while under the care of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder and other charges related to a deadly robbery attempt in North Carolina in 2010, authorities said.

Alexis Mattocks turned 21 in a Cumberland County, N.C., jail cell after she and her boyfriend, Cedric Theodis Hobbs Jr., were charged with armed robbery, murder and conspiracy in the killing of a 19-year-old pawnshop clerk in November 2010, according to District Attorney William West.

Ms. Mattocks, who had the couple’s 9-month-old baby girl with her at the time, according to police, had tested positive for drugs before leaving a group home in Southeast and traveling to North Carolina with Mr. Hobbs, who also is charged in McDuffie County, Ga., in the killing of a 22-year-old man there.

Police said Mr. Hobbs used the same weapon, a silver semi-automatic handgun, in both killings. Both victims were shot in the face. Mr. Hobbs, who allegedly stole the gun from an uncle, has confessed to both killings, police said. His trial status was unclear Monday, Cumberland County authorities said.

If Ms. Mattocks pleads guilty as expected, her fate will be contingent on her testimony in the pawnshop murder case against Mr. Hobbs, authorities said. Once the Hobbs case is resolved, a judge will sentence Ms. Mattocks, they said.

Those who know her say Ms. Mattocks grew up before her time. Arrested in 2006 at age 15 on charges of sexual solicitation and possession of crack cocaine, she used an adult alias to stay out of juvenile detention, according to court records.

Eventually committed to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) in 2009, she had a child with Mr. Hobbs, who had a history of armed robbery and drug dealing, records show.

Despite her traumatic childhood, including homelessness and time living in a shelter, Ms. Mattocks developed a love of photography and a desire to make it on her own, DYRS sources said. Before she left the group home in 2010 she was enrolled in a transition school, trying to get sober and working on her GED diploma, the sources said, acknowledging the difficult decision not to pull her from the home despite a positive drug test.

DYRS officials refuse to comment on youths committed to their custody, though sources within the agency said that as of Ms. Mattocks’ 21st birthday, the agency has no legal authority over her.

A review by The Washington Times of crime statistics and DYRS records shows that the agency struggles to keep track of the nearly 750 committed youths who reside in community settings such as the group home Ms. Mattocks walked away from.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat and chairman of the committee that oversees DYRS, has challenged DYRS to confront its inability to provide adequate drug and alcohol treatment and to toughen its response to recidivism.

• Jeffrey Anderson can be reached at jmanderson@washingtontimes.com.

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