Lookout Mountain Suites stabbing case goes before grand jury

The case of a woman charged with criminal homicide in the April stabbing death of Lymorris Martin, 59, was sent to a grand jury by Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Clarence Shattuck on Tuesday morning after testimony from her brother and a homicide investigator.

Ernest Green, the brother of Rachel Green, 51, testified in the hearing that he was in the room with his sister and the alleged victim at the Lookout Mountain Suites when the stabbing took place. He said Martin, who lived with Rachel Green, was involved in a domestic disorder that escalated to physical violence.

"My sister and Mr. Martin got into a little argument," he said. "They were shouting at each other."

He said Martin punched Green in the eye, and although he didn't actually see the stabbing take place in the ensuing scuffle, he could see blood coming from what appeared to be Martin's side.

"He jumped up and said he'd been stabbed," Ernest Green said.

Ernest said both he and Rachel Green called 911 and she began trying to help the victim, saying, "'I didn't mean to do it, please don't go.'"

By the time police arrived, it was too late. Martin died on scene from a stab wound to the arm and Rachel Green was taken into custody to be interviewed by a police. Prosecuting attorney Andrew Coyle played a section of that interview Tuesday in court.

Rachel Green said Martin swore at her before punching her right eye and she grabbed the kitchen knife to stop the assault.

"I poked him just a little bit," she told police. "He ain't never hit me like that."

She also told police she couldn't have called them before the situation escalated, but an investigator concluded that her life was not in danger and she could have removed herself from the situation without resorting to deadly force.

Taylor Walker, a homicide investigator with the Chattanooga Police Department, also testified and clarified that despite what he thought in the immediate aftermath of the stabbing, the victim was stabbed only once in the arm. He said blood had pooled in a way that made it look as if he had also been stabbed in his torso.

"[Martin was] sitting on the ground just inside the doorway, his back was rested against the wall next to the door," he said. "There was too much blood to see exactly where the wound was on the top part of his arm."

Rachel Green was already in the back of a police car when Walker arrived, but he was told by the responding officer that she told police upon their arrival, "He hit me once, I think I got him on the arm."

Martin had several prior charges including drug possession, assault and offensive touching. Rachel Green been previously charged twice in Hamilton County, once for public intoxication in 1997 and again for aggravated assault in 2013.

Martin's death preceded another, unrelated stabbing death in Chattanooga by little more than a month.

The victim in that case, Ashley Cates, 30, was found deceased from multiple stab wounds on the floor of her apartment on the 1500 block of Bailey Avenue. A suspect, 57-year-old Tyrone Murphy, was found in a neighboring apartment after police found blood outside her apartment and on his door.

Cates' death was the most recent homicide in Chattanooga this year. The city has seen 13 so far in 2017.

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at egienapp@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.