Police: Man kills girlfriend at hotel

Darrell Dewayne Smith accused of killing Diamond Harper

HOUSTON - A man has been accused of killing a woman at a north Houston hotel.

Darrell Dewayne Smith, 22, has been charged with murder.

Houston police said Smith used a belt to strangle Diamond Harper, 15, at the Hyatt on the Sam Houston Parkway near Imperial Valley on Nov. 2. She was also beaten, investigators said.

Harper's body was found covered with pillows in a room, investigators said.

Investigators said a guest in a neighboring room said she heard a woman crying and screaming about 4 a.m. on Nov. 2. The guest said she heard choking and gagging sounds about 4:15 a.m. and then heard a woman crying again. The guest said she heard screaming, crying and three loud thumps that shook the wall of her room about 4:45 a.m.

Police said a front desk clerk told them that she checked Smith and a woman into the room about 4:40 p.m. on Nov. 1. Another clerk checked Smith out of the room about 5:45 a.m. on Nov. 2, and that clerk said Smith appeared to be in an extreme hurry, detectives said.

Smith told police that he and Harper, his girlfriend, checked into the hotel on Nov. 1 and he left her asleep in the room when he checked out about 5:45 a.m. on Nov. 2. He said there was no one else in the room with them at any point, investigators said.

Harper lied to her parents about Smith's age, telling them that he was 17, relatives said.

Smith is being held in the Harris County Jail with bond set at $50,000. His criminal history includes misdemeanor theft charges.

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