RICHMOND -- By the time Elaine Ashes called 911 to report her boyfriend as unresponsive, the 36-year-old man had been dead for some time, and it appears someone tried to cover up the killing inside the couple's Point Richmond home, a prosecutor said Friday.

Ashes, 37, made her first court appearance Friday, a day after prosecutors charged her with homicide in the Tuesday stabbing death of her boyfriend, Patrick McHenry.

Before Friday's hearing, Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox said neighbors heard arguing coming from the Tewksbury Avenue home between midnight and 2 a.m. Tuesday. Ashes called 911 at about 4:30 a.m. Rescuers unsuccessfully tried to revive McHenry before realizing he had a stab wound in his abdomen, authorities said.

In fact, McHenry was dead well before firefighters and medics arrived, Knox said. It also appeared someone tried to clean up the crime scene. The knife believed to be used in the killing was found in the kitchen, she said.

No motive has been established, but police have said the stabbing happened during a domestic violence incident fueled by alcohol.

Ashes, who operates a dog walking and training company in Marin County, did not enter a plea Friday, and will return to court July 25. She is being held on $1 million bail.

David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.



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