Just before Starlin Fike was found dead, a witness heard the suspect tell him, "I love you, but I will kill you," court records show.
Fike's boyfriend, Luke Jackson Jr., 42, has been arrested in connection to the killing.
Police were called to a home in the 200 block of Hunt Avenue on Sunday morning. There, they found 47-year-old Fike lying on his back in the living room area of the pool house behind the Brainerd area residence. He was pronounced dead on scene.
Crime scene investigators noted "obvious signs of a physical altercation," including blood splatter throughout the living room, according to court records.
Investigators also noted that Fike sustained head, face and neck injuries. And blood was found on Jackson's clothing.
The Hamilton County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death to be manual strangulation and blunt force trauma.
Upon completing a walk-through of the crime scene, the lead investigator had Jackson transported to the police department for questioning. However, Jackson said he did not want to speak to anyone without an attorney present, court records state.
With Jackson not talking, investigators turned to witnesses.
A medic on scene told police that when they arrived on scene, Jackson told emergency personnel that he and Fike were in a physical altercation earlier that morning, court records show.
Another witness told police he saw Jackson and Fike fighting in the backyard. The witness said Jackson appeared to be very aggressive toward Fike, while Fike remained "very calm," according to court records.
That is when the witness saw Jackson place his hands around Fike's neck and tell him he loved him but that he would kill him, records show. After that, both Fike and Jackson went into the pool house.
Police obtained security footage that corroborated witness accounts, and they found a "history of domestic assault between the victim and Mr. Jackson."
Jackson has a brief arrest history in Hamilton County dating back to 1995.
Apart from a contempt of court charge in 2010, his four other charges are for traffic violations, according to online court records. No domestic assault charges appear to have been filed in Hamilton County.
On Monday, a new charge appeared on his record: criminal homicide. His bond has been set at $500,000.
As of Tuesday afternoon, he remained in the Hamilton County Jail.
Fike's death marks Chattanooga's seventh homicide of the year.