published Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Chattanooga police say Wilcox death is homicide

The death of a man whose body was found on the kitchen floor of a burning duplex has been ruled a homicide, according to Chattanooga police.

The smell of smoke still permeated the air outside 1802 Wilcox Blvd. on Friday, more than a day after firefighters found 36-year-old Lucius Moss' body inside the brick duplex.

A charred speaker box and few displaced compact discs were among the blackened ash and rubble outside the front door Friday afternoon. Crime scene tape still sealed off the entry to the home.

Police are not releasing how Moss was killed. A medical examiner's report is pending. It's also unclear how the fire started.

However, nearby residents said they believe Moss was shot and killed after an argument.

"They say he got shot and they burned it to make it look like a [fire]," said a 29-year-old resident who declined to give his name for fear of retaliation.

Hamilton County court records show Moss had convictions for second-degree murder in 1993 and possession of cocaine for resale in 2009.

Police still are looking at motives.

"One guy in the neighborhood said they were fighting over drugs. Someone else said a girl. We've got about 18 different stories," said Sgt. Wayne Jefferson, a Chattanooga police spokesman.

Moss' death marks the fifth homicide in Chattanooga this year, compared with three in the same period last year.

Anyone with any information about Moss' death is asked to contact Chattanooga police at 423-698-2525 or call Crime Stoppers at 423-698-3333.

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