published Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Chattanooga police believe Facebook photo led man to kill woman

Police believe a photo posted on Facebook by a woman of herself posing with money might have led a man to kill her over the weekend.

JaMichael Donte Harris, 20, was arrested Tuesday after police say he tried to make Inez Burney's death look like a drowning early Saturday morning.

Harris is charged with criminal homicide in Burney's death and faces a preliminary court date next week.

Officers initially responded to a report of CPR in progress at 1400 Cypress Street Ct. around 6 a.m.

There, Harris said he let himself in the apartment with a key at about 4 a.m.

According to an arrest affidavit, Harris told police he went upstairs and found Burney unresponsive in the bathtub.

But he said didn't start CPR until approximately 5:30, close to when he called 9-1-1.

Officers noticed scratches on Harris' face consistent with a female attempting to defend herself against an attacker.

On Sunday the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a homicide.

The money from the photo Burney posted on her Facebook was not immediately located at her apartment.

"Given that Mr. Harris' story is highly suspicious and that there is time lapses and differences that he can't account for, along with physical evidence on his face that the victim scratched him during the struggle, it has been determined that Mr. Harris wanted the victim's money and he attacked her," the arrest affidavit reads.

The officers concluded that Harris strangled Burney and tried to stage it as a drowning.

"However, the victim's hair was not wet to [indicate] that she was taking a bath and had drown," the affidavit says.

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