Eleven homicides from 2014 remain unsolved by Chattanooga police - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Eleven homicides from 2014 remain unsolved by Chattanooga police

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Eleven homicides in Chattanooga for 2014 have yet to be solved by police. Eleven homicides in Chattanooga for 2014 have yet to be solved by police.
The number of homicides in Chattanooga by year. The number of homicides in Chattanooga by year.
The rates for solving (clearance of) homicides cases in Chattanooga by year. The rates for solving (clearance of) homicides cases in Chattanooga by year.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Chattanooga police have almost 60 unsolved homicides on their hands over the past 10 years. Dozens of families still have no closure after losing a loved one to the worst kind of violence.

But Chattanooga averages well above the rest of the nation when it comes to solving homicides. The exception is for 2014, when the police department had one of its lowest clearance rates in at least a decade.

"The clearance rate means a lot to me," said CPD Sargeant Bill Phillips. "It is personal. You can't do it as long as I've done it without it meaning something to you."

Phillips has been at the center of Chattanooga homicide investigations since the early nineties. Now he's part of the department's cold case unit. He focuses a lot of his time on the percentage of homicide cases cleared each year a.k.a. the "clearance rate."

The FBI says a case can be cleared through an arrest of through exceptional means like the death of an offender.

The Chattanooga Police Department cleared about 59 percent of its 27 homicides in 2014. That's after a full decade with an average clearance rate of almost 80 percent. Still, CPD points to the FBI benchmark that says departments nationwide clear an average of 62 percent per year.

"We've had a good track record throughout the years," said Sgt. Phillips. "It is becoming more and more difficult to keep those numbers."

MOBILE USERS | See the map of unsolved homicides

Sgt. Phillips said every year is different and there could be a number of factors for 2014's lower clearance rate, including a higher case load. Homicides were up 42 percent last year.

"It could be that you don't have in that year the credible witnesses that you were able to obtain in other cases," he said. "It could be that there were more cases during that particular year where you don't have as much evidence on scene as you did in other years."

Police are still trying to solve the following 11 cases from 2014. You can leave an anonymous tip with the cold case unit at (423) 209-7470.

  1. Jan 20: Deontrey Southers, 13, was gunned down at his doorway at 1501 E. 50th Street. Police believe members of the 126 Athens Park Bloods came to the door looking for his mother's boyfriend who neighbors say is a Bounty Hunter Blood member. No arrest has been made.
  2. Feb. 1: Charles Allen Jones, 23, was shot to death on Fagan Street. Police say Jones was shot in the wrist and abdomen after an argument. Jones died on the way to the hospital. He left behind two sons. No arrest has been made.
  3. April 11: Darius Eugene Hinton, 25, was found shot to death on Glenwood Avenue. His body was dumped down an embankment. No arrest has been made.
  4. May 5:  James Russell Fredrick, 55, was found shot to death inside his vehicle on Wheeler Avenue. No arrest has been made.
  5. June 25: Cedric Kentrell Mikes, 33, was found shot to death on South Terrance inside a car. No arrest has been made.
  6. June 25: Charles James King, 42, was found shot to death on Bennett Avenue inside a car. No arrest has been made.
  7. June 27: Wesley A. Eaves, 49, died from asphyxiation. His body was found mutilated on Delawanna Terrace. No arrest has been made.
  8. July 5: Steven Douglas Bell, 65, was found under the Workman Avenue Bridge. He was found severely beaten. Police believe his body was thrown from the bridge afterwards. A medical examiner's report shows he died from blunt force trauma to the torso. No arrest has been made.
  9. July 10: Dominic LaVon Wright, 22 was found shot to death at 2108 Foust Street. Police believe the shooting was gang related. No arrest has been made.  
  10. Sept. 7: Jasmine Akins, 19, was shot to death after leaving a night club, Chocolate City Lounge. She was shot  just across the street from the club located at 1846 Market Street. Two other people were injured in the shooting. No arrest has been made.
  11. Oct. 20: Apprentice D. Berry, 20, was shot and killed at the Woodlawn Apartments off of Wilson Street. He died from gunshot wounds to the chest. No arrest has been made.
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