published Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Chattanooga Police Department recorded 25 homicides in 2011

Harriet Tubman residents Tia Fortson, left, and Jodi Scott converse near a memorial set up for 4-year-old Tyre’ke Evans who police say died from injuries related to beatings in December.
Harriet Tubman residents Tia Fortson, left, and Jodi Scott converse near a memorial set up for 4-year-old Tyre’ke Evans who police say died from injuries related to beatings in December.
Photo by Dan Henry.

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CHATTANOOGA HOMICIDES BY YEAR

2011: 25

2010: 20

2009: 11

2008: 20

2007: 16

2006: 19

2005: 23

2004: 16

2003: 24

2002: 21

2001: 26

Source: Chattanooga Police Department

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Chattanooga had 25 homicides last year -- far below the peak believed reached in the 1990s but the highest number of people slain since 2001, according to data from the Chattanooga Police Department.

The lowest number of homicides in recent years was 11, in 2009, and the highest was 26, in 2001.

Among last year's homicides were a father and daughter slain just months apart in unrelated cases, the gunning down of a police officer and the beating death of a 4-year-old boy.

Meco Siler, 29, was found stabbed to death on Jan. 9 in what investigators believe may have been a robbery. Her father, Herbert Strickland, 53, was shot in the head and killed at a gas station in May.

On Jan. 9, police arrested Brandon Eugene Russell, 29, on a felony murder charge in connection with Siler's death. Antonio Dejong Espey, 18, is charged with first-degree murder in Strickland's death.

In April, Police Sgt. Tim Chapin was killed while responding to a robbery call. A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire at pursuing officers behind a Brainerd Road pawnshop. Jesse Mathews, 26, a convict who had fled from a halfway house in Colorado, could face the death penalty if convicted in the case.

In December, Tyre'ke Evans, 4, died after an apparent beating left him with a swollen brain, lacerated liver, bruises and abrasions. His mother, Patricia Brewer, 23, and her boyfriend, Kenneth Dewayne Coleman, 21, are charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated child abuse.

Of last year's homicides, 68 percent were cleared with arrests and eight cases remain open.

That's better than the national clearance rate average of 64.8 percent, according to the FBI. The national clearance rate has fallen steadily over the years, according to data.

However, Assistant Chief Tim Carroll said Chattanooga has closed most of its homicide cases since investigators began tracking the data on Sept. 3, 1976.

Of 946 homicide cases since then, 838 have been cleared, or 88.58 percent, he said.

Carroll said homicides peaked in the early 1990s when crack cocaine became prevalent in the city. In 1991, there were 49 homicides with a 93 percent clearance rate, he said, while 1994 had 50 homicides and a 90 percent clearance rate.

In the last decade, homicides have averaged 22 per year, data show.

Two of last year's homicides were because of domestic violence. More than half are believed to be linked to gang violence, according to police. Out of the 25 homicides, a vast majority -- 84 percent -- were the result of shootings.

Of the eight open homicides from 2011, half took place on the streets and half were inside a residence. Street shootings can be challenging in terms of finding usable evidence, police said.

"A lot of times, it's going to be ballistics at the scene and that's about it," Carroll said. It's rare for police to recover the weapon at the scene.

Investigators still are sending evidence to the lab in several of the open cases and received new information to follow up in a couple of the cases.


CHATANOOGA'S 2011 HOMICIDES

Jan. 6 -- A housekeeper finds the body of Meco Siler, 29, in her room at a 20th Street hotel. On Jan. 9, police arrest Brandon Eugene Russell, 29, on a felony murder charge in her death. Russell's next court date is scheduled for Jan. 10.

Feb. 10 -- Lavante Favors, 25, is shot in the head in his apartment at 3726 Dorris St. His girlfriend found his body. No arrests have been made.

Feb. 18 -- Domnick Sherrell, 17, is fatally shot in the 1300 block of North Orchard Knob Avenue. His girlfriend's mother, Margaret Harris, is charged with first-degree murder. Her next court date is set for Feb. 16.

March 4 -- Ronald Blackmon Jr. is shot in the head on Sheridan Avenue. Edward Ryals Jr. and Demetrius Bibbs are charged with first-degree murder. Ryals' court date is set for Jan. 13 while Bibbs' next court date is Feb. 8.

March 15 -- Robert Moore, 49, is fatally shot in the abdomen on his porch at 2302 E. 14th St. Kadeem Pratt is charged with first-degree murder. Pratt's next court date is set for Jan. 25.

March 16 -- Jason Hood, 37, is shot in the torso during an argument at 7648 Mallette Road. His cousin, William Larry Clarke, 59, is arrested on a criminal homicide charge. Clarke's next court date is set for Jan. 23.

April 2 -- Chattanooga police Sgt. James Timothy Chapin is shot as he responds to a robbery at the U.S. Money Shop on Brainerd Road. Jesse Mathews, 26, is charged with felony murder, first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. Mathews' next court date is set for March 12.

April 5 -- Cordarrius Jeronell Armour, 22, is shot in the chest at close range near the Okie Dokie Mart at 1900 Roanoke Ave. Tyrone Carmichael faces charges of first-degree murder charge and unlawful weapons possession. His next court date is set for Feb. 8.

April 9 -- Aaron Burton, 39, is shot numerous times in the head by an unknown assailant at his residence at 2118 Windsor St. No arrests have been made.

May 12 -- Anthony White, 28, is shot multiple times in the head in an alley off the 800 block of Roanoke Avenue. No arrests have been made.

May 19 -- Herbert Strickland, 53, is shot in the head at the Big K gas station at 909 Dodson Ave. Meco Siler, the year's first homicide victim, was his daughter. Antonio Dejong Espey, 18, is charged with first-degree murder in Strickland's death. Espey's next court date is set for Jan. 26.

June 1 -- Darrius Townsend, 17, is shot in the head and back in the 900 block of Taylor Street. Lonta Burress Jr., 17, is charged with first-degree murder. His next court date is set for Feb. 6.

June 7 -- Victoria Godwin, 42, is choked and punched to death inside her home at 4931 Woodland View Circle at the Emma Wheeler housing complex. Michael L. Crumpton, 49, is charged with first-degree murder. His next court date is set for Jan. 10.

June 19 -- Cecil Timmons, 20, is shot in the chest and dies at Erlanger hospital. Witnesses say two or three black males jumped from a car at Maple Street Courts and at least one of them shot into the crowd where Timmons was standing. No arrests have been made.

July 3 -- Melvin "Brando" Fennell, 25, is shot multiple times in the chest at his home at 818-B Arlington Ave. Cordalro Strickland, 26, is arrested on charges of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, reckless endangerment and two counts of aggravated assault. Strickand's court date is set for Friday.

July 28 -- James Williams Jr., 23, is shot in the chest at his home at 2305 E. 17th St. during a robbery. Deangelo Napoleon Justice, 22, and Jerrico Hawthorne, 24, are both charged with felony murder, first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery and two counts of attempted especially aggravated robbery. Justice's next court date is set for Feb. 9. Hawthorne's is set for Friday.

Aug. 6 -- Charles McCaine, 25, is shot in the back during a home invasion at 2508 Latta St. No arrests have been made.

Sept. 2 -- Dwana Dixson, 47, is shot in the stomach outside her apartment at 457 Dodson Ave. No arrests have been made.

Sept. 8 -- Demetrius Roshelle, 31, is shot in the head and his wife, Regina Copeland, 32, is charged with first-degree murder. She claims the two were arguing and the gun accidentally discharged. Her next court date is set for Feb. 15.

Sept. 12 -- Aundre Bush, 19, is shot in the head following a large fight in the 1900 block of Southern Street. Lathe Corbin faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. Corbin's next court date is set for Jan. 26.

Oct. 4 -- Zachary Higdon, 30, is shot in the back in his trailer in the Whispering Pines Mobile Home park at 900 Airport Road. No arrests have been made.

Oct. 7 -- Reginald Clark, 37, is shot and killed inside his home at 1644 Greenwood Road following a fight at the Fire and Ice Club downtown. Roderick "Pooh Pooh" Bates, 25, and Emmett Dewayne "D-Baby" Jones, 25, are charged with first-degree murder and especially aggravated burglary. The cases have been bound over to Hamilton County Criminal Court.

Oct. 23 -- VanDaryl Rivers, 22, is shot in the head while standing outside a residence at 1912 Walker St. Four other people were wounded. No arrests have been made.

Dec. 19 -- Shaviya Vinson, 15, is stabbed in the chest during a fight between two groups of women. Temekia Reed, 24, is charged with criminal homicide, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault. Reed's next court date is set for Jan. 10.

Dec. 19 -- Tyre'ke Evans, 4, dies after an apparent beating left him with a swollen brain, lacerated liver, bruises and abrasions. His mother, Patricia Brewer, 23, and her boyfriend, Kenneth Dewayne Coleman, 21, are charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated child abuse. Their next court date is set for Jan. 10.


OTHER AREA HOMICIDES

East Ridge

June 15 -- Jane Stokes, 70, is found slain in her home on Hardin Drive, her face covered in plastic and her hands bound. Randall Reed, 43, is charged with first-degree murder. His next court date is set for Jan. 12.

Red Bank

May 20 -- Gary Hines, 39, of Tunnel Hill, Ga., is shot to death by his 79-year-old girlfriend, Rosemary R. Dehlin, inside her residence at 3501 Dayton Blvd. Dehlin then turned the gun on herself.

Sept. 24 -- Jordan Collins, 27, is found lying in a pool of blood inside his home at 3710 Redding Road, bludgeoned to death with a crowbar. Zachary Hughes, 19; Markel Mitchell, 16; and Jeremy Sean Reinig, 27, are charged with criminal homicide.

Hamilton County

March 28 -- Allen David Gibson, 53, is found with a fatal head injury at his mother's residence at 6437 Snow Hill Road. No arrests have been made.

March 9 -- Jesse Myles Compton, 18, is fatally shot at a teen party. Myles K. Stout, 21, is charged with second-degree murder, reckless homicide and reckless endangerment. His next court date is set for Jan. 11.

Aug. 4 --Jeimy Baquero, 34, is found bludgeoned to death inside a residence at 4103 Shady Oaks Drive. A first-degree murder warrant has been issued for Angel Lopez Hernandez but no arrests have been made.

Nov. 16 -- Christian Sosa, 19, is shot at public tennis courts in the 4500 block of Bill Jones Road in Apison. Nathan Lalone, 20, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Tyler Conrad and Blakelan Adams, both 19, face charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. The cases have been bound over to Criminal Court.

Dec. 6 -- David L. Murray, 46, is found slain in the basement of a home at 6422 Ware Branch Cove Drive in Harrison. Joshua Sterling Stoltz, 19, is found and arrested in Valdosta, Ga., in connection with the death. After extradition, he will face charges of criminal homicide and theft over $10,000.

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