Another Homicide Adds to the Dark Cloud Hanging Over Fort Hood

Police in Killeen, Texas confirmed this week that DNA found at a 2019 crime scene matches that of a Fort Hood soldier.

November 06, 2020

Spc. Cory Grafton [Killeen Police Department]

Spc. Cory Grafton [Killeen Police Department]

By: Julien McNab

In a statement released on Wednesday the Killeen Police Department announced that they have arrested a suspect in the June 3, 2019 murder of 32-year-old Chelsea Lynell Cheatham in Killeen, Texas.

Working with the Texas Rangers through their Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Project the Killeen PD were able to match DNA taken from the crime scene to Fort Hood soldier Cory Grafton, 20.

CNN reports that on June 3, 2019, police were dispatched to a Days Inn where they discovered Chelsea Cheatham, unconscious and not breathing. Despite efforts to revive her Cheatham was pronounced dead at the scene. Although an exact cause of death has not been provided, an autopsy report later ruled the death a homicide.

It was a tip provided by a witness that had led police to Grafton.

Fort Hood has suffered a difficult year in which there has been a much higher rate of homicides, suicides, and fatal accidents than in previous years, according to the New York Times. Although not any one particular reason for the upshot in violent crimes is provided, Stars and Stripes quotes attorney Natalie Khawam, who represents the family of Vanessa Guillen, as saying that with regardless to the leadership at Fort Hood “It’s a ‘shut up and mind your own business’ mentality. It’s very totalitarian.” This she claims has led to toxic leadership.

The surge in violence at Fort Hood is of such concern that a Congressinal investigation was announced last month to look into the "alarming pattern of recent tragedies" at Fort Hood.

In the meantime Cory Grafton's bond has been set at $1 million as he faces a first degree felony murder charge.

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