The argument began when Bobbie Dickerson’s boyfriend of two years returned to their Everett apartment around 1 a.m. Monday.

“I yelled at him, ‘Where have you been? You think it’s OK to stay out all night?,’ ” an emotional Dickerson said by telephone Monday afternoon. “Then Jamal stepped in and said, ‘Why you gotta treat her like that?’ ”

By the time police arrived an hour later, Dickerson’s 22-year-old housemate, Jamal Abdul-Malik, had been fatally stabbed and Dickerson’s boyfriend was being sought in his death, police said.

A first court appearance for the 40-year-old suspect is expected Tuesday afternoon, according to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office. Court and state Department of Corrections records indicate he has an extensive criminal record and is a Level 1 sex offender.

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The Seattle Times is not naming the man because he has not been charged nor has he had a probable-cause hearing.

According to Everett Police Department spokesman Sgt. Ryan Dalberg, police were called to a disturbance in the apartment complex in the 8200 block of Fifth Ave. West at 1:45 a.m. When officers arrived, the suspect had fled and

Dickerson, 34, was attempting first aid on the injured man.

“I did everything I could to save him,” Dickerson said tearfully.

The suspect was tracked down by a police K-9 unit and later booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree murder, according to Dalberg.

Dickerson said Abdul-Malik was living with her, her boyfriend and her daughter in their South Everett apartment because he had no family and few other places to go. She said he called her “auntie.”

She disputed a police account that indicated Abdul-Malik was her daughter’s boyfriend.

Dickerson said Abdul-Malik didn’t like to see her upset, which is why he tried to intervene when she was arguing with her boyfriend.

“He said, ‘Why you treat her like this? She give you chance after chance after chance,’ ” Dickerson recounted.

She said she called Abdul-Malik’s girlfriend, who lives in the same apartment complex, to get him.

“I had turned around, and then I heard her scream and they were fighting. Then (the suspect) pulled a knife out of my laundry area and started stabbing,” she said.

Dickerson said her boyfriend had “never, ever, ever” hurt or assaulted her previously, but numerous people told her Monday that he had been behaving oddly before the stabbing.

The suspect has a lengthy criminal history that includes more than 50 warrants and convictions for rape, failing to register as a sex offender, drug offenses and numerous protection-order violations, court records show.

He was also on active supervision with the state Department of Corrections, said agency spokeswoman Norah West. An arrest warrant for failing to report to his community corrections officer was issued April 4, West said.

also had encounters with the law, including convictions for robbery and assault, according to court documents.

Dickerson said that, despite her boyfriend’s history, she never saw him use drugs and feels betrayed by his actions.

“This is a man who said he loved me and wanted to marry me,” she said. “I just don’t understand why he would do that to a friend.”

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed

to this story.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or