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Fort Hood soldier arrested in connection to June 2019 murder in Killeen

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Posted at 7:38 AM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 15:59:34-05

KILLEEN, TX — UPDATE:

Through the investigation, Detectives with the Homicide Unit received information from a witness that 20-year-old Cory Grafton was at the scene at the time Chelsea Cheatham was murdered.

With assistance from the Texas Rangers, DNA from the scene was submitted and the results confirmed that Grafton matched the DNA located on Cheatham.

On November 3, 2020, detectives with the Homicide Unit obtained a warrant and shortly after 4:00 p.m., the warrant was executed.

Grafton was taken into custody and transported to the Killeen City Jail.

ORIGINAL STORY:

On June 3, 2019, the Killeen Police Department responded to the Days Inn Hotel in Killeen, where they located the victim, 32-year-old Chelsea Cheatham. KPD detectives determined an unknown person murdered Cheatham.

On September 2, 2020, the Texas Rangers informed KPD about the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Program and the possibility of utilizing advanced DNA testing to help solve this case.

After reviewing the investigation, the Texas Rangers and KPD identified 20-year-old Cory Grafton, a soldier from Fort Hood as a possible suspect.

Investigators interviewed Grafton about Cheatham’s death and collected a sample of his DNA. One of Grafton’s co-workers provided a statement to police that Grafton confessed to him about killing Cheatham.

Investigators expedited the DNA test on Grafton’s sample, and on November 3, 2020, the test results confirmed Grafton’s DNA matched the DNA found at the crime scene. As a result, Grafton was arrested for Murder.

The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Program grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance provides funds to grantees to investigate and prosecute violent sexual assaults and homicides with a sexual assault nexus.

In 2019, the Texas Rangers applied for and received two grants from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, lawfully owed DNA collection and cold case investigation and prosecution, respectively.

The Texas Rangers remain committed to assisting local law enforcement and prosecutors in bringing the perpetrators of these violent crimes to justice.