published Friday, February 18th, 2011

Autopsy may hold clues in killing of Lavante Favors

by Chris Carroll

Lavante Favors never saw the bullet.

Whether he knew it was coming is another question.

On Feb. 10, the 25-year-old Chattanooga man died inside his Alton Park home after someone shot him above and behind his left ear.

Bullet fragments exited the right side of Favors' head, leading investigators to eliminate suicide and explore a possible execution-style killing.

"Or it could be that he got surprised," Chattanooga police spokeswoman Officer Rebecca Royval said.

As of Thursday afternoon, police had announced no leads in Favors' death.

The Hamilton County medical examiner's report offers a few clues for detectives. A homemade tattoo on Favors' left wrist said "East Dale B." That's a reference to a Chattanooga-based "hybrid-type gang," according to Sgt. Todd Royval, head of the city's crime suppression unit, which monitors gang activity.

"It's a small, neighborhood gang -- where gangs basically start," he said.

Todd Royval acknowledged that Favors had been arrested 15 times between 2004 and 2010, and confirmed that the crime suppression unit was involved in the homicide investigation. But he said it was unclear whether Favors' death was a revenge killing.

Kameka Jordan, 23, who said she'd been Favors' girlfriend for a decade, told police she found his body when she returned from running errands for two hours. But Jordan said she needed to unlock the front door at 3726 Dorris St. to get inside. There were no signs of forced entry.

In 2009, Favors pleaded guilty to domestic assault after police said he locked Jordan out of her home and later "dragged her through the house and out on the porch," court records state.

"Nobody's been ruled out as a suspect," Rebecca Royval said.

At the Dorris Street home on Thursday, a lock hung off the front gate and wooden boards covered the windows. Standing outside a corner store a few blocks away, Tracy Jones, 40, speculated about a motive.

She said she'd known Favors "since he was about 12" and that she didn't see any problems between him and Jordan.

"I went around their house practically every day, and they seemed happy," Jones said.

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