Fort Hood Soldier Arrested in Connection to 2019 Murder
Authorities in Central Texas have arrested a Fort Hood soldier they believe is responsible for a murder that occured last summer at a Days Inn in Killeen.
According to a press release from the Killeen Police Department, Cory Grafton, 20, was arrested November 3 for the murder of 32 year-old Chelsea Lynell Cheatham.
Officials arrived at the Days Inn located at 1602 E. Central Texas Expressway on June 3, 2019 around 10:39 PM in response to a call about a woman who was unconscious and not breathing. Emergency personnel attempted life saving measures, but the woman was pronounced deceased at 11:35 PM.
Authorities were unsure about the woman's cause of death, but an autopsy confirmed that detectives were looking at a homicide. After further investigation, police located a witness who placed Cory Grafton at the scene of the murder.
With assistance from the Texas Rangers, DNA evidence found at the scene was submitted to the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Program for testing. Investigators say the DNA was a match for Grafton.
Hannah Hall with our partners at News 10 reports that Grafton is a Fort Hood soldier. Further details such as a motive or Grafton's relationship with Cheatham had not yet been released Wednesday.
The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) provides grant funding for the processing of sexual assault evidence kits that have never been submitted to a crime lab, usually due to a backlog.
As of June of 2020, SAKI had inventoried 130,719 sexual assault kits, 71,491 of which were sent for testing. 11,021 of tested kits returned a hit from the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Of those CODIS hits, 1,500 were serial sex offenders, while 5,603 were serial violent offenders.
Grafton is currently incarcerated at the Bell County Jail. No bond information was available Wednesday afternoon, nor were specific charges yet listed no his jail roster.