ORONO, Maine — A former University of Maine football player accused of fatally stabbing a man and wounding a woman in Florida last week attacked the same woman while the two lived in Orono with their children in 2012, according to court documents.
Zedric Joseph, 23, of West Palm Beach, Fla., has been arrested in connection with the double stabbing that claimed the life of Ricardy Chery, 23, and injured Vashti Laurore, 23, who is the mother of Joseph’s daughter. Laurore has a son by another father.
Joseph fled to Georgia, where he was apprehended after the stabbings, and is expected to be formally charged with murder and two counts of aggravated assault once he is returned to Florida.
Police went to the 1600 block of Quail Lake Drive in West Palm Beach last Friday and found Chery with multiple stab wounds and Laurore with a stab wound to her hand, states a press release from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera. A warrant was issued for Joseph’s arrest, and he was arrested Wednesday in Georgia by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. He was still being held Thursday afternoon at the Richmond County Jail in Augusta, Ga., a jail official said.
Florida police have not provided details about why investigators believe Joseph stabbed the mother of his children and Chery late last week.
In December 2012, police in Orono indicated in documents detailing Joseph’s arrest for domestic violence assault that he was “apparently jealous, suspicious of [Laurore] w/another man.”
Laurore, whose name is spelled Vasthi Laurori in Maine court documents, walked into the Orono Police Department on Dec. 17, 2012, with dark purple bruises on her neck and told officers that Joseph had choked her twice, according to the report filed by Officer Jason Butterfield of the University of Maine Police Department.
“Laurori told me she was awakened at 1 a.m. 12/17/12 and confronted by an angry Zedric Joseph demanding to ‘know the truth’ and stating ‘if you don’t tell me the truth I’m gonna choke you!’” the report states. “After talking with him and advising him that nothing was going on as far as her having a relationship with someone else she said he didn’t believe her and began to choke her. Laurori said that she was unable to breathe for a short time.”
The couple’s two young children, a 1-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son at the time, were home during the assault, the woman told police. They all lived on Massachusetts Street at University Park.
“I asked Laurori what happened next and she said that sometime [at] approximately 11:30 a.m. 12/17/12 she and Joseph were again talking heatedly and Joseph again choked her in front of the kids in the home,” Butterfield’s report states. “[Joseph] told her he would kill her and the kids. Laurori went on to say that Joseph threw both children on the floor.”
Joseph also threatened to kill her and the children if she went to police, Laurori told Butterfield.
Joseph was arrested and charged with domestic violence assault, domestic violence criminal threatening and misdemeanor assault. He later entered into a plea agreement to drop the three charges in exchange for pleading guilty to disorderly conduct, which he did in May 2013. He was sentenced to 48 hours in jail, which was counted as time served.
Attempts to reach Laurore on Thursday were not successful.
Joseph was suspended from the university on an interim basis after the domestic assault arrest but the outcome of the disciplinary hearing cannot be released because of federal privacy laws, University of Maine spokeswoman Margaret Nagle said Wednesday.
Joseph attended Palm Beach Central High School and graduated in 2009, according to his Go Black Bears profile. He enrolled at UMaine in 2011 and played football for the Black Bears in 2012 and 2013. His final season was cut short because he broke his leg during the third game.
Nagle said campus police also talked with Joseph, a senior majoring in child development and family relations, on five occasions in addition to the domestic violence incident. The first was in connection to a broken window at Hancock Hall in October 2011. In April 2012 he was questioned about a man being punched outside the Memorial Gym. In September 2012, he was questioned after an argument in the Memorial Gym parking lot. Then, on the evening of Nov. 11, 2012, and the next morning, police questioned him on reports of arguments at University Park. No charges against Joseph resulted from those instances, Nagle said.
If guilty, Joseph would be the second former UMaine football player in 15 months to have killed a person. Former UMaine player Jovan Belcher, a 2009 graduate who went on to become a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, shot and killed his girlfriend and then took his own life in December 2012.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Joseph was the father of both of Vashti Laurore's children. He is the father of one child.