Man charged in Appleton girl's death said he went on "stabbing rage"

A GoFundMe for Zyana Corbin's family.
A GoFundMe for Zyana Corbin's family.(WBAY)
Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 12:34 PM CST
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Three-year-old Zyana S. Corbin has been identified as the victim of a homicide in the city.

An autopsy was conducted by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner.

In the criminal complaint, Dr. Peterson, the Chief Medical Examiner at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office performed the autopsy, and said Zyana died of multiple 'incised' wounds of the neck, and found multiple face, neck and muscle incisions.

Appleton Police say suspect Demetrius L. Williams, 25, appeared in Outagamie County Court Monday, where a judge set a cash bond of two million dollars.

Court records show Williams has been formally charged with one count of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, and two counts of Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, with one of those counts having an added domestic abuse modifier.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 11 at 10:30 a.m.

According to a probable cause statement, when they arrived on the scene on February 26, one of the officers reported a 'frantic and distressed' man walking towards the vehicles, saying a woman covered in blood in the hallway of an apartment on Kensington and a baby had 'cuts all over her face'.

When they walked into the complex, officers found Zyana and Tiana, who police say was dating Williams, with blood on them, and each had a many 'severe lacerations'.

The statement says Zyana had a deep cut to her throat/neck area, and appeared to be unconscious, while Tiana had injuries to her chest and abdomen area. Officers say Tiana also had a large cut to her lower back region, as well as severe cuts to her face, neck and chest.

Tiana told officers she was 'pepper sprayed' and also claimed Williams beat her, and used a knife.

Both Zyana and Tiana were taken to ThedaCare in Appleton, where Zyana was pronounced dead due to her injuries.

The woman, identified by family as Tiana, was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery. Police said Tiana and her unborn child were in stable condition.

While responding to the complex, an officer says he could see the southwest corner, lower level apartment patio door was open, and what he said was a large amount of blood on the patio, as well as on the door of apartment #2.

Officers then commanded any people inside the apartment to come out, but no one responded.

When they entered the apartment to find any suspects or victims, police say they could see a large amount of blood spots and pools of blood on the inside, as well as blood droplets on the floor, and blood smears on the walls.

Police then saw a possible knife handle on the ground inside of the living room, and what appeared to be a silver handle similar to one found on a knife on the floor in the bedroom that didn't have a blade attached to the handle.

911 Call Details

The probable cause statement also gives details of the 911 call, saying during the call, a man who then identified himself as Williams, said he was at Newberry Mobil, and did a stabbing at the address on N. Kensington.

Demetrius said during the call he was 'upset at his "ex"' because she didn't want to be together and didn't want him to touch her anymore.

Demetrius then said all the weapons used while he attacked were left in the apartment, and also said he had blood on him.

He then told dispatchers that he didn't like that his "ex" didn't want to be together anymore, and didn't want him touching her.

He also told dispatchers he went on a stabbing rage, and started stabbing her daughter.

Dispatchers then told him that officers would arrive at the station, and instructed him how to comply with police.

During the call, officials say Williams was "calm, collected, and matter of fact."

At the Gas Station

When officers arrived at the gas station, located at 2811 E. Newberry St., they spoke with an employee of the gas station, who said Williams had walked into the business, paced for about 20 seconds, and then asked to use the phone.

The employee stated Williams had paced in the front area of the store, but hadn't walked anywhere else inside.

Police say they took a blue Swisstech jacket with blood stains, a white Tommy Hilfiger jacket with blood stains, an empty blue pocketknife case and a gray and red Coleman backpack with blood stains found on the floor inside the front door near the customer service side of the counter.

The employee also stated when he gave Williams the phone, he overheard Williams mention something about his girlfriend to the person Williams had called.

Interviews with Police

While speaking with police, Tiana stated she met Williams on Instagram, and he had moved to Appleton from Minneapolis in the middle of July, and lived at her apartment for about three months.

She also told police she had been concerned about adding him on her lease because he had an eviction in Minneapolis, and didn't have a job, and also wasn't saving money.

Tiana then said she didn't think she wanted to be with Williams anymore but was afraid to tell him because she was 'scared of the way he moves and does things', and wanted to be discreet.

Tiana added there had been an incident last summer where he shoved her in her apartment, but he had never threatened to kill her.

She said when the attack started, she saw her daughter run out to the living room to the couch from her bedroom.

She then continued on to say she was trying to get to the sliding glass door and was by the table near the couch, and said her daughter was standing on the corner of the couch near the door.

The complaint states Williams was able to get the phone out of Tiana's hand as she was trying to call for help.

Tiana was eventually able to open the sliding door and get out, but wanted to go back and grab her daughter, but Williams was still slashing at her.

Tiana then told police then reentered the apartment complex, and was told by a lady across the hall to not go back in, and that when she stepped out, Williams had closed the door and locked it.

The complaint states Tiana thought Williams wouldn't hurt her daughter because he had a 'really good bond with her', and that she said she was begging for help outside and went to the neighbors, opened their door and was wondering what to do because Zyana was still in the apartment.

Eventually, Tiana told officials Williams then opened the door and ran towards the back, and she went inside and saw blood on her Zyana, who was still trying to breathe.

Tiana told police she could see her daughter's throat.

The complaint states Tiana 'didn't see this coming', and that she 'had a bad feeling about him, but didn't see this attack coming.'

Tiana told police she yelled for help, and saw blood on the floor while Williams attacked her.

In a separate interview, police sat down with Williams.

Williams then told police he met Tiana on Instagram Chat, and said Tiana was living in California, had a young daughter and was divorced.

He then stated Tiana and Zyana moved to Appleton in order to be closer to their family about a year ago, and he ended up moving from Minneapolis to be with Tiana to start a family because they both believed the same faith or spirit.

He told police he lived with Tiana and Zyana for the first five - six months until about December of 2019, and eventually moved out to live at a homeless shelter after the landlord began asking questions, since he wasn't on the lease.

Afterwards, he told police he knew Tiana was about seven or eight months pregnant with his daughter, and is due in May, and that this would be his first child.

Williams stated he had noticed Tiana hadn't been communicating with him, or reciprocating his affection, and was ignoring him, and once he felt she didn't care about him, he 'let things build up and it finally came out.'

The day of the attack, he told police he went to Tiana's apartment around 6 p.m., and found Tiana's sister and her children there as well.

After they left, Williams says Tiana asked him to leave since she was putting Zyana to bed, and at one point, she had stepped out of Zyana's room to use the bathroom, and he went into the kitchen to get knives, which he said he hid in his pocket. He also told police he had grabbed a box cutter he had bought before from a top shelf in Tiana's bedroom closed earlier in the evening.

When Tiana came back to the bedroom, he said she had taken her glasses off, and Zyana started playing with Tiana's eyes.

He then told police he took out his pepper spray and sprayed Tiana in the eyes so she couldn't see and disable her, and then took a knife from his pocket and stabbed and slashed her in the face multiple times.

Williams then told police while attacking her, the knife broke, so he took a second knife from his pocket and continued attacking her.

He said when Tiana was able to get away from him to get help, he then went after Zyana, and stabbed her in the face with a knife, and then used a box cutter to cut her face and throat in the living room, where she had ran to during the attack on her mother.

Police then asked him why he attacked Zyana, and he replied saying he knew the two were close, and he knew that 'killing Zyana would bring Tiana great pain or hurt her a lot', and knew how much Tiana loved Zyana.

When asked why he attacked Tiana, he said he couldn't talk to her and his anger had been building up.

He then told police he decided to call them to report the attack because he knew police would eventually get to him.

Williams also said he had been thinking and planing of ways to kill them for about a week, and initially thought about poisoning them, but decided to use a weapon instead.

He said he had planned to take out Tiana first and then Zyana because he didn't want to leave her there.

Williams also said he 'rushed' his plan that night, and went to their apartment with the intent to kill them.

Police asked Williams why he wanted to kill Tiana and his baby, and according to the complaint, he said it was for 'freedom and happiness'.

In the complaint, police say Williams was calm, collected, and alert during his interview, and told police he hadn't had any drugs, alcohol or medicine that night.

The officer who sat closest to Williams reported he didn't detect any odors of intoxicants or drugs, or any symptoms such as slurred speech, dilated pupils, or other drug-related physical signs.

A GoFundMe has been set up by Zyana's family to help cover funeral costs.

for information on how to donate.

"Zyana was taken from us to soon; she was full of life and so sweet," reads the GoFundMe. "She always would smile and brighten up the room."

Action 2 News has received a copy of the criminal complaint, and will continue to update this story.