published Monday, March 31st, 2014

30-year-old woman confesses to killing man in his trailer

A 30-year-old woman is accused of helping kill a man in his trailer nearly three years ago, according to a Chattanooga Police Department arrest report.

Jessica Tene Sterchi faces charges of murder in the first degree, especially aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.

Sterchi told investigators she was with her boyfriend and his brother when 30-year-old Zachary Higdon was shot to death in October 2011. She told police that she had entered Higdon's trailer in Whispering Pines first to purchase cocaine.

Sterchi said the two men entered the trailer while she was still inside and tried to rob Higdon. Higdon fought back and was shot. Sterchi said she drove the men back to Higdon's home twice after he was killed to steal valuables and clean the scene as much as possible.

The items taken from the trailer matched the description given by Higdon's family members. Items were reportedly pawned. The gun used in the shooting was reportedly thrown in the river, the report states.

Investigators interviewed Sterchi after a witness came forward saying he spoke to her. She reportedly told him she was responsible for Higdon's death. He later went to police.

Sterchi, who resides in Hixson, only has one prior conviction on her record in Hamilton County — a theft under $500. She was arrested Friday.

As of Monday, she remained at Silverdale Correctional Facility.

Her next court date is set for April 15 before Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Gary Starnes.

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