UPDATE: Suspect in 2015 murder pleads guilty - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Suspect in 2015 murder pleads guilty

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After his mother was shot and killed, Jordan Sharp says he will take over his mother's diner in Cleveland in her honor. After his mother was shot and killed, Jordan Sharp says he will take over his mother's diner in Cleveland in her honor.
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Donald Abbott pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in the 2015 death of Marla Sharp.

Sharp and Abbott had been dating for several months before Abbott fatally shot the woman in her home.

Abbott was sentenced to 20 years in the Tennessee Department of Corrections for the Class A felony.


PREVIOUS STORY:The Little Diner on 1st is known for its great service and food and it's where 44-year-old Marla Sharp spent most of her time taking care of her regulars.
    
But the diner has been closed since Sunday, after the family learned Sharp was shot and killed in her home.

"Me personally, I'm numb. very numb," said Jordan Sharp.

Jordan Sharp, 23, was inside this home when his mother was shot. Jordan ran next door and called for help, then waited with his mother for paramedics to arrive.

"I went through the process of seeing her go with my own eyes," Jordan said, "It took its toll on me right then and there."
    
Police say Donald Abbott shot and killed Marla Sharp, The two had been dating for only a couple of months, and Sharp's family says their relationship was volatile. 

Sharp left behind three children.
    
Jordan and his two siblings, Joshua and Kaylea, say their mother always wanted to own her own restaurant and the Little Diner on 1st was her dream come true.

Some of the children's earliest memories are of their mother in the kitchen baking for the family.

The diner is now closed --- and has been since Sharp's death.
    
Flowers and handwritten notes cover the front door as the calendar inside still marks the day Marla was killed.

Sharp's three children say they don't want to think about the way she died but how she lived.

"She had a big heart, she taught me how to have a big heart," Jordan said.

Now that she's gone, Jordan says he will take over his mother's business. He says it's what she would have wanted.

"I think she would be proud. I know she would," Jordan said.

The Little Diner on 1st is expected to reopen Tuesday, the same day Donald Abbott is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in court.
    
Abbott is currently at the Bradley County Jail with no bond.

Visitation for Marla Sharp will be held at Jim Rush (N. Ocoee Chapel) in Cleveland on Thursday, July 30th from 5 pm - 8 pm.

Visitation will also be Friday, 1 pm - 2 pm at Friendship World Outreach on Clyden Road in Waverly, TN. The funeral will follow, Sharp will be buried in her hometown in Waverly.

A memorial fund to help Sharp's three children has been established at Regions Bank under the name Marla Scurlock Sharp Memorial Fund.

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PREVIOUS STORY: The suspect in this morning's fatal shooting is now in custody, sources tell Channel 3. He has been charged with first degree murder.

Earlier, Cleveland police were searching for Donald Lee Abbott, 46, in connection with the shooting death of 44 year-old Marla Sharp of Cleveland at their Westview Drive home.

Friends of Sharp say she is known as the owner of the Little Diner on First Street in Cleveland.

Neighbor tells Channel 3 that the victim's son was also at the home. He ran next door and banged on neighbors door for help about 2:30am. 

The son called 911 from the neighbor's home and they watched, as the suspect drove away. 

Police arrived at the scene within minutes.

The victim was able to provide police with information when they arrived. But she succumbed to her shooting-related injuries afterwards. 

The neighbor describes the neighborhood as quiet and full of families.

Abbott was last seen driving a white 2014 Chevy truck with black stripes.

A FELONY PAST

Abbott has four felony warrants from Meigs County and a history of domestic violence. His criminal history also includes robbery, reckless driving and evading police.

In May, Abbott led authorities on a high-speed chase through three counties while driving on a revoked Georgia license for five prior DUIs. 

Tennessee Highway Patrol said deputies in Meigs County spotted his truck and knew he was wanted for felony robbery and assault but Abbott was determined to get away. The chase went through Bradley County and ended on Highway 11 in McMinn County when he lost control of his truck and crashed into another car. Abbott had to be subdued with a stun gun.

Abbott was taken to Erlanger Hospital for treatment of injuries he suffered in that crash. But while hospitalized, he became "beligerent" and tried to run away.

Abbott resisted arrest and "physically fought security and hospital staff" before he was taken to the ground and arrested.

He was charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was scheduled to appear before Judge Gary Starnes on November 30.


PREVIOUS STORY: The Cleveland Police Department investigating a homicide at 3830 Westview Drive off Blythe Ferry Road.

Officers responded to the residence at 2:37 a.m. Monday morning, where they found a female, shot in the upper torso. The female has since succumbed to her injuries.

The suspect is still at large.

Cleveland Police Detective Daniel Gibbs is investigating the crime. Crime Scene Tech and investigators processing the crime scene.

Units still on scene and will continue to be here until scene is clear. 

Stay with Channel 3 and WRCBtv.com for more on this developing story.

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