Fort Hood soldier facing murder charge in woman’s 2019 death; How DNA revived the case

KILLEEN, Texas – A Fort Hood soldier has been arrested in the death of a woman at a Texas hotel last year, authorities said Wednesday.

NBC News reported Cory Grafton, 20, an active-duty soldier assigned to the Texas base, was arrested Tuesday.

Grafton is facing a murder charge in the death of Chelsea Lynell Cheatham, a 32-year-old who was found not breathing at a Days Inn in June 2019, officials said. Cheatham’s death was later ruled a homicide.

A witness put Grafton at the scene, Killeen police said Wednesday.

The Texas Rangers, which received a grant for DNA testing last year, approached police with the possibility of using the testing in the year-old case, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

Police had also gotten a statement from one of Grafton’s co-workers who said he had confessed to the killing, the Department of Public Safety said.

NBC News reported Grafton was being held in lieu of $1 million bail Wednesday night, according to online jail records. It was not clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

For more on this story, go to NBC News.


About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.