Jason Chen, charged in death of Jasmine Pace, appears in court

Mother of Pace: ‘He’s going to have to face me’

Staff photo by Olivia Ross  / Jason Chen sits in the courtroom with his attorney Josh Weiss on Tuesday.
Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Jason Chen sits in the courtroom with his attorney Josh Weiss on Tuesday.

As accused killer Jason Chen walked into a Hamilton County criminal courtroom Tuesday, a woman in a blue silk blouse stood up in the front row of the gallery.

Both her hands rested on the railing that separated spectators from the lawyers and the defendant.

She stayed that way for almost an hour, staring at Chen throughout a court hearing.

"He's going to have to face me," the woman, Catrina Pace, said to her family at one point.

Pace's daughter, Jasmine Pace, was killed last week, allegedly by Chen at his Tremont Street apartment, her body dumped along Suck Creek Road.

Chen, 22, who was arrested in Nolensville, Tennessee, last week, has been charged with criminal homicide and appeared Tuesday before Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Larry Ables.

Jasmine Pace, 22, was reported missing on Nov. 27 after her family hadn't heard from her for a few days. Pace's mother tracked Jasmine Pace's vehicle to the Signal View condominium complex at 900 Mountain Creek Road, according to longtime family friend Bailey Putman.

Chen, who has been held at the Silverdale Detention Center without bond since his arrest, is being represented by private Chattanooga attorney Josh Weiss, who asked that the bond hearing be rescheduled to Friday.

In agreeing with the request for a delay, Hamilton County District Attorney General Coty Wamp said that a witness would not be available for the Tuesday hearing.

Wamp will be lead prosecutor in the case, with homicide prosecutor Michael Dowd serving as second chair.

A few of Chen's neighbors told Catrina Pace and detectives that they heard screaming coming from Chen's apartment around 2 a.m. on Nov. 23, according to a sworn affidavit from the police department.

Homicide detectives searched Chen's apartment and observed "blood transfer on the living room hardwood floor, bathroom grout, the master bedroom's carpet and blood spatter on the bathroom wall," the affidavit stated.

Further testing by the crime scene investigation unit, using a forensic blood enhancer called Bluestar, showed large amounts of blood trace throughout several areas of Chen's apartment, including the living room carpet and the wooden floor, according to the affidavit.

Pace's body was found in the Suck Creek Road area Thursday. Police believe she was "murdered during an altercation" at Chen's apartment and then transferred to another location, according to the affidavit.

Chen will remain in custody until Friday's bond hearing, which will determine the appropriate amount of bond for the crime he is accused of committing.

Approached by reporters, Catrina Pace declined to comment.

Contact La Shawn Pagán at lpagan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter @LaShawnPagan.

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