Fort Hood soldier arrested in 2019 Texas hotel murder
Bell County / Killeen Police
Chelsea Cheatham, Cory Grafton

KILLEEN, Texas (TCD) --

Homicide detectives arrested a 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier stationed at Fort Hood on Tuesday for the June 2019 murder of 31-year-old Chelsea Cheatham.

Killeen Police responded to a report of an unconscious woman who was not breathing at the Days Inn hotel on E. Central Texas Expressway at 10:40 p.m. on June 3, 2019. First-responders performed CPR on the woman, later identified as Chelsea Cheatham, but she was pronounced dead about an hour later. Her death was ruled a homicide, police said.

Killeen Police said Wednesday that a witness told homicide detectives 20-year-old Cory Grafton was at the scene in the hotel at the time Cheatham was murdered.

DNA located on Cheatham matched Grafton's DNA, Killeen Police said this week. On November 3, homicide detectives obtained a warrant for murder and shortly after 4 p.m. Grafton was arrested and held in the Killeen City Jail on $1 million bond.


The Killeen Daily Herald reports Spc. Cory Grafton is a soldier with the 1st Cavalry Division, which is based in Fort Hood, Texas.

A search of the room at the Days Inn resulted in the discovery of several cellphones, and phone messages retrieved led to the discovery of a phone number which belonged to Grafton, the Daily Herald reports.

In October, Grafton was hospitalized after an apparent overdose of over-the-counter pain medication and alcohol, according to the Daily Herald. Later, his sergeant provided a recorded and written statement in which Grafton admitted to Cheatham’s death.

The affidavit states Grafton told his sergeant: “He was hanging out with her and that she said some stupid s--- to him and that he said some stupid s--- back to her and that at that point in time, his hands were around her throat.”


The Army Times reports a spokesman for 1st Cavalry Division, Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam, confirmed Grafton was a member of the unit and said the Army was cooperating with Killeen Police and Texas Rangers in the case.

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