Islamic clothing dispute led to pregnant woman’s death, according to suspect’s statement

Atiya Perry, 24. Courtesy of the Perry family
Atiya Perry, 24.
Courtesy of the Perry family

In the weeks before she died, Atiya Perry, 24, had applied for jobs at local food marts and visited doctors at Temple University Hospital for help with her first pregnancy.

But Perry’s life was cut short on Sept. 9, 2012, when she was seven weeks pregnant. Roysce “Yusef” Haynes, 29, her husband under Islamic law, is on trial for Perry’s death by strangulation.

Homicide Detective Edward Tolliver said Tuesday that Haynes was upset and crying while in police custody and apologized for what he had done.

“I saw her pull out the pepper spray. I knocked it away from her. I just grabbed her and choked her. I felt her go limp. I just blacked out. The next thing I knew she was dead,” Haynes said in his statement to detectives, which Tolliver read as members of Perry’s family in the audience wept.

“I wish this never happened. I hate myself right now for what I’ve done,” Haynes’ statement continued.

Haynes told detectives the two argued about how much she wore her Islamic garb, and a few days before he had told her she was “disobedient” and had to leave their home on the 800 block of East Chelten Avenue in Germantown. He changed the locks, but she returned to the residence, leading to the confrontation.

Two city employees testified Tuesday that the day after Perry’s death, they spoke to Haynes on the steps of his house.

Haynes told them they should call 911, and when they opened the door to his home, they saw Perry’s body lying in the hallway covered with a blanket.

Police were called and took Haynes into custody. He gave his statement to Tolliver later that day.

Defense attorney Wendy Ramos said she is not disputing that Haynes killed Perry, but is arguing that he is not guilty of first-degree murder as the slaying occurred in the heat of passion.

Haynes is charged with murder and the illegal homicide of an unborn child.


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