It was not the scene housekeepers expected to find when they entered the seventh-floor room of the upscale Whitehall Hotel in Chicago: the body of Brianna Gardner, a 22-year-old Dallas woman, fatally shot in the head.
Police found a cell phone in the room and, shortly after, brought it's owner in for questioning. One month passed, then another, and Gardner's friends worried that the case might be on the back burner. Gardner had recently been picked up for prostitution and was an aspiring stripper, media outlets weren't shy to point out, and it seemed that her murder wasn't being investigated as urgently as it might have been had the victim been, say, an equally doe-eyed university co-ed.
Their efforts seem to have been good enough. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, police have pinned the murder on LaMarcus Washington, a 28-year-old parolee with an extensive rap sheet. He was charged on Monday with first-degree murder.
Few details have been released thus far about Washington's relationship to Gardner or what he was doing in the Whitehall Hotel. But the Sun-Times reports that he was picked up on August 14 -- the day after Gardner's murder -- on a parole violation and booked into the Illinois Department of Corrections two days later.
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Washington has previously been convicted of residential burglary, aggravated battery with a weapon, and the drug charges for which he was on parole. He has been denied bond.