Suspect and victim in Cleveland, Tenn., New Year's killing were old friends, police say

Suspect and victim in Cleveland, Tenn., New Year's killing were old friends, police say

January 2nd, 2012 by Perla Trevizo in News

Harold Montgomery and Russell Brown

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Russell Brown has been charged with first-degree murder in addition to aggravated arson in connection with the New Year's Day hotel fire and suspected homicide at a Days Inn, according to the Cleveland Police Department.

Brown, 36, was arrested at 12:04 a.m. today at the home of his uncle, a retired Bradley County deputy, according to city police spokeswoman Evie West.

The suspect is being held at the Bradley County Justice Center without bond, she said.

West said Brown and the victim, Harold Lee Montgomery, 39, had known each other since childhood and since the mid-1990s had conducted a sexual relationship.

"Apparently that's what happened on Dec. 31," she said. They checked in for a room and got into an argument, West said.

Police said Brown stabbed Montgomery in the neck and upper torso multiple times with a sharp object like a knife.

Brown told police he threw the weapon in a large body of water, West said. She wasn't allowed to give the specific location, but said it had not been retrieved by police.

Montgomery was found in Room 117 by Cleveland firefighters responding to a fire call at the Days Inn, 2550 Georgetown Road.

Firefighters tried to save him but he died at the scene, said West.

Police believe Brown slashed the victim, set the room afire and fled in Montgomery's car, a black Volkswagen Cabriolet with a white top.