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Ashley Cates who was stabbed to death in Chattanooga 6/4/2017
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Tyrone Murphy

A preliminary report today from the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office says a 30-year-old woman who was fatally stabbed in her apartment died from "multiple wounds of neck and chest."

The findings confirm what Chattanooga police suspected after arresting a 57-year-old earlier this month for the criminal homicide of Ashley Cates on June 4.

Cates was found by emergency responders, dead from multiple apparent stab wounds, in her home on the 1500 block of Bailey Avenue, court records show.

Police saw blood smeared on the floor outside her apartment and on the door of a neighboring apartment and tried to make contact with anyone inside. When no one answered, they knocked down the door and found Tyrone Murphy sitting in bed with freshly stitched wounds on his right palm and thumb.

The medical examiner's report ruled Cates' death as a homicide, matching the criminal homicide charge leveled against Murphy, who has no prior history in Hamilton County General Sessions court. He also faces a charge of tampering with or fabricating evidence and has a court appearance scheduled for July 20.

The report, which does not list the number of stab wounds, shows Cates had cuts on her chest, wrist, hands, upper thighs and bruises on her knees.

She was the second person to be stabbed to death in Chattanooga this year and her death marked the 13th homicide at the time.

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