85-year-old DC man stabbed wife to death after arguing over pancakes, prosecutors say

The 85-year-old man charged with fatally stabbing his wife in Northwest D.C. will be spending Christmas in custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C.

Prosecutors said Steven Schwartz stabbed his wife, 81-year-old Sharron Schwartz, after they argued over him not wanting to eat the pancakes she made him for breakfast. Steven Schwartz told police he had a stroke a few months ago that left him struggling with suicidal thoughts as he tried to recover from losing about 45-50 pounds and “eating diversion.”

An officer responded around 3:40 p.m. Sunday to the stabbing in an apartment near the intersection of Corcoran Street and 13th Street in Northwest D.C. Police said Sharron Schwartz was found by the front door of her apartment with a stab wound to the back and that Steven was found upstairs with “self-inflicted injuries.”

Steven Schwartz’s stepson called 911 and reported the stabbing, telling police he arrived at their home and discovered his mother had been stabbed after neighbors called him to let him know they could hear fighting and screaming in the apartment.

He told police he found his stepfather on his knees sitting over Sharron Schwartz, and he first assumed she had fallen down the stairs. He also said Steven Schwartz told him “I stabbed her and then myself,” before he noticed a knife in his hand and took it from him, placing it on the floor.

Police said they later had to take another knife away from Steven Schwartz after he stabbed himself again.

Both were taken to the hospital, where Sharron Schwartz died. Steven Schwartz’s injuries were not life-threatening, according to police, and he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder while armed.

In interviews with police, Steven Schwartz seemed confused about what happened, saying “he was praying to God that this was a delusion” and that Sharron Schwartz “was a wonderful person” who he had loved for 40 years.

There were parts of the incident he told police he doesn’t remember, but he did recount that his wife threw a plate of pancakes at him after he refused to eat them and that he threatened to kill himself with a carving knife before she was stabbed.

Steven Schwartz pleaded not guilty Friday to the charge of second-degree murder while armed. A judge ordered him held without bond before his first hearing Jan. 2, 2024.

Emily Venezky

Emily Venezky is a digital writer/editor at WTOP. Emily grew up listening to and reading local news in Los Angeles, and she’s excited to cover stories in her chosen home of the DMV. She recently graduated from The George Washington University, where she studied political science and journalism.

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