A former Temple University police officer used his fists and a police baton to beat his girlfriend to death Friday in the Germantown home they shared and he enlisted his best friend, a current Temple officer, to help him, Homicide Capt. James Clark said.
Home at the time of the killing were four children, Clark said.
Aaron Wright, 47, has been charged with murder, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, conspiracy to commit murder, and abuse of a corpse for the death of his girlfriend, 24-year-old Joyce Quaweay. Temple Police Officer Marquis Robinson, 41, the couple's roommate and Wright's best friend, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated assault, and abuse of a corpse.
A Temple University spokesman said Wright was dismissed from the force in 2012, but he would not detail why. Robinson was fired from Temple police on Sunday, after criminal charges were filed against him.
According to authorities, Wright, Quaweay, Robinson and Robinson's girlfriend, who has not been identified, lived together at a house on the 4600 block of Greene Street.
Wright was "extremely controlling" and became upset Friday because Quaweay was not submissive enough, Clark said.
Together, Wright and Robinson allegedly stripped Quaweay naked and handcuffed her to a bench. As Wright beat her, Robinson contorted the victim's body so Wright could strike her in multiple places, Clark said.
"He felt like she would not submit to his authority and this was his way of punishing her to try to break her," Clark said.
The unrelenting abuse was witnessed by Wright's two daughters by Quaweay, ages 10 months and 2 years, as well as Wright's two other children, who are around the ages of 8 and 10, police said.
The men continued to beat Quaweay even after she died, according to police, and that is the basis for the abuse of a corpse charge.
Robinson's girlfriend walked in during the assault and called 911 around 10:40 a.m., police said.
Arriving officers found Wright sitting on the steps leading to the second story of the home. As they approached, he stood up and said "'I'm the one you want,'" according to a police news release.
Quaweay, whom Clark said had "bruises all over her body, from the neck down," was pronounced dead on scene.
Robinson fled before officers arrived but later turned himself in, police said.
Clark called the murder "brutal and barbaric."
Karyn Nettles-Davis, 25, a close friend of Quaweay, said the two attended West Philadelphia High School together. She said Quaweay was ambitious and independent and worked at a group home taking care of the mentally disabled.
Quaweay's life revolved around her two girls, who are now in the care of Quaweay's mother, Nettles-Davis said.
"Her daughters were her everything," she said.
Quaweay's half sister, Beatrice Mulbah, 26, of Providence, R.I., said Quaweay grew up in Rhode Island but moved to Philadelphia in high school to help out her aunt, who lives in the city.
"My sister was very smart. My sister was a very strong woman who was always there for her kids," Mulbah said. "Joyce had more than a lot of people who loved her and I would like people to remember her as a strong, independent woman."
Both Mulbah and Nettles-Davis said they'd been around Wright before but never suspected he might be abusive nor had Quaweay ever said that he was.
"Trust me, if she would have said something, something would have been done," Nettles-Davis said.
She urged anyone who may be a victim of domestic abuse to think of her friend and "speak up."
"You're not alone. There's nothing to be ashamed about. You're not doing anything wrong. And it can get worse," she said. "If somebody is putting their hands on you, they do not love you. That is not love."
Mulbah said she has "no words" for the men who allegedly claimed her sister's life.