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Police tape is seen on the street at the scene of a homicide in Chattanooga.

At a Glance

About last year's 24 Chattanooga homicide victims:

• The average age of a homicide victim in 2012 was 34.

• 33 percent (8) of the victims were women.

• 71 percent (17) of the victims died from gunshot wounds.

• 75 percent (18) were black.

Homicides by Year

• 2012: 24

• 2011: 25

• 2010: 20

• 2009: 17

• 2008: 20

• 2007: 16

• 2006: 19

• 2005: 23

• 2004: 16

• 2003: 24

• 2002: 21

• 2001: 26

Source: Chattanooga Police Department

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A memorial consisting of stuffed animals, flowers, a candle and a photo rests where the body of Quincy Bell was found on September 22, 2012.

For the second straight year, Chattanooga has recorded an above-average number of homicides.

In all, 24 people were slain in Chattanooga last year, down slightly from 2011, police records show. Both totals were well above the city's average of nearly 20 killings a year over the past decade.

Yet it was the number of women slain in 2012 - eight - that stood out.

That's twice the number of women killed here in 2011.

The number of 2012 female victims is also far higher than both state and national averages on a per-capita basis, according to a recent study by the Violence Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing death and injury from gun violence.

That study, based on 2010 homicide data, found that Tennessee had a higher homicide rate among female victims slain by men than all states except Nevada and South Carolina in single victim/single offender attacks.

"Most often, females were killed by males in the course of an argument - usually with a firearm," according to the study.

In Chattanooga, four of the eight women killed in 2012 were shot. And three of the eight women were victims of domestic violence, police said.

Robert Hardnett faces homicide charges in the slaying of his 34-year-old wife, Elizabeth.

Police arrested Eddie Witcher as a suspect in his girlfriend's death, 35-year-old Nicole Dupree.

And the latest case happened just after Christmas when 51-year-old Robin Sanders was killed in her home. Her boyfriend, Dennis Weyers, faces charges in her death.

Several other deaths involving female victims have less clear-cut motives.

No arrest has been made in the shooting death of Barbara Johnson, whom police said was known for prostitution. She was gunned down while walking on Rawlings Street.

Kenyeta Tramble, 21, was killed when she opened the door of her East Lake Courts residence. She was shot in the face. Charges were recently dismissed against a suspect arrested in connection with her case.

No arrest has been made in the slaying of Dana Wilkes, 48, whose partial remains were found in the 3700 block of Youngtown Road.

Police believe Jo Anne DeSha, 75, was strangled to death with a vacuum cleaner cord by a man who lived nearby.

Homicides Per 100,000 Women

Chattanooga, 2012 data, 9.171

Tennessee, 2010 data, 1.921

U.S., 2010 data, 1.22

polls here 2158

Of last year's homicides, seven remain open without arrest - a 71 percent clearance rate for the department. The clearance rate of homicides in the South is 71 percent, according to FBI data in 2011. Nationwide, the average clearance rate is 65 percent.

"A lot of it depends on citizen cooperation. It ebbs and flows. In some cases, you get a lot. Some cases, you don't. In some cases, you don't get anything, or you'll get, 'Yeah, I know who killed him, but I'm not telling you.' You get that kind of thing. Every one of them is different," said Chattanooga police Assistant Chief Kirk Eidson. "You just have to keep talking with people and hope you get an answer somewhere."

Over the past 10 years, the city averaged 19.8 homicides per year, according to data provided by the department.

In 2012, as many as six homicides involved either victims or/and suspects who were documented with gang affiliations.

Two of the victims, including DeSha, were elderly.

2012 Homicides in Chattanooga

1. Jan. 7 - Demarcus Husband, 23, was found by police lying dead in a yard at 862 N. Orchard Knob Ave. after he was shot in the face. The residence was riddled with bullets. A nearby residence at 1901 Rawlings St. was also shot up. No arrest has been made.

2. Jan. 13 - Kima Evans, 35, was shot with an assault rifle at 1706 Cambridge Drive. Evans died on Jan. 29. Kaylon S. Bailey is arrested in connection with the shooting. Bailey faces charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and first-degree murder.

3. Feb. 4 - Anthony Scott, 37, was found slain at 5225 Woodland View Circle just after 3 a.m. Police believe Scott had an altercation with 43-year-old Raphael Colvin. Colvin has been arrested and is being held at the Hamilton County Jail on a charge of criminal homicide. Scott sustained blunt force trauma to the neck, according to a medical examiner's report.

4. Feb. 13 - Elizabeth Hardnett, 34, was found shot to death at 1907 Daisy St. Her husband, Robert Hardnett, 50, was charged with criminal homicide after he walked into the Hamilton County Jail saying he killed his wife.

5. March 17 - Two men were shot in front of a residence at 4009 Fagan St. at about 11:30 p.m. Jabari Jennings, 25, was shot in the face and died from his injuries. Lawande Haggard, 24, was shot in the leg and transported to a local hospital for treatment. The shooting was the result of a botched drive-by, according to police. Joshua Lackey, 23, and Derrick Smith, 21, have both been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aggravated assault and attempted first-degree murder.

6. March 18 - Garner Isbill, 76, was severely beaten at a hotel at 7300 Lee Highway. Isbill was initially hospitalized and listed in critical condition after the beating. He died May 23. Jennifer Ryane Hartfield, 32, and John Monicer, 28, were charged in connection with the death.

7. April 18 -- Nathan Deere, 32, a taxi cab driver for Millennium Cab, was shot in the head at 1643 Ocoee St. while he was parked. Christopher Padgett, 18, was charged in his death. It appears the shooting was the result of a botched robbery.

8. May 13 - Chelsea Smith Hayes, 14, was found slain on the porch of a residence at 3016 12th Ave. Carlos Juan Harrison, 18, faces charges of criminal homicide and tampering with evidence.

9. May 26 - Nicole Dupree, 35, was shot and killed at 1912 Citico Ave. 56-year-old Eddie Witcher faces charges of criminal homicide, tampering with evidence and unlawful possession of a firearm.

10. June 1 - Gregory Watkins, 29, and Lashonda Gonzalez, 22, were shot while sitting inside a red Toyota Corolla parked at Delta Express, 3410 Brainerd Road. Watkins died at the scene and Gonzalez was treated at a local hospital. Stephen Hill, 22, is charged in connection with the shooting.

11. July 2 - 38-year-old Steve Mosley is shot and killed at 1108 N. Hawthorne St. Ronald Cosper, 18; Devante Stoudemire, 20; and Dustin Hayes, 18, were arrested. Cosper is charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a fiream, and especially aggravated robbery. Stoudemire is charged with felony murder and especially aggravated robbery. Hayes is charged with accessory to felony murder, false report and especially aggravated robbery.

12. July 6 - Barbara Johnson, 45, was gunned down in front of 2010 Rawlings St. at 4 a.m. while walking down the street. She sustained two gunshots to her neck and face area. No arrest has been made.

13. Aug. 5 - Darrell Tramel Lane, 29, was shot in the 200 block of Tunnel Boulevard just after 8 a.m. He collapsed in a driveway at 222 Tunnel Blvd. A gray Dodge Caliber with a hatchback was seen driving away. Suspect Langdon Strickland faces a charge of criminal homicide.

14. Aug. 21 - Ronald Lovell Wright, 31, was gunned down by responding police officers at a home invasion at 1332 Florida St. Wright escaped out a back window and pointed a shotgun at police before they opened fire on him. The homicide was ruled as justified.

15. Sept. 8 - Kenyeta Tramble, 21, was shot in the face in the doorway of her residence in East Lake Court apartments, 2213 E. 25th St. Court. A man was arrested in connection with her death but the charge was later dismissed. The case remains open.

16. Sept. 15 - Jo Anne DeSha, 75, was strangled with a cord from a vacuum cleaner inside her residence. Police responded at 10 a.m. to find her lying on the floor of her residence at 2302 Marco Circle. Reginald Mapp, 20, is charged in her death.

17. Sept. 16 - Artemio Baltazar, 18, was stabbed multiple times at 12:34 a.m. at 2604 E. 44th St. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. No arrest has been made.

18. Sept. 19 - Barry Bowman, 22, was transported to Parkridge Hospital in a personal vehicle after he was shot in the head. Investigators are still trying to verify the scene of the shooting. A possible location in front of 6317 Walden Ave. is given. The shooting is gang related, police said. Bowman succumbed to his injuries a few days later. Suspects Deangelo Bowman and Timothy Sexton both face charges of criminal homicide, numerous counts of reckless endangerment and a charge of unlawful possession of a weapon.

19. Sept. 22 - Quincy Bell, 20, was shot in the 3800 block of Wilcox Boulevard while behind the wheel of a Toyota Camry. He managed to drive east about a quarter-mile before pulling into the Kangaroo gas station at 4026 Shallowford Road. He died in his car. Marcus Boston was arrested in connection with the slaying.

20. Sept. 25 - Cary Abram, 27, was shot in front of his residence at 3412 Jones St. while sitting in a gray Chevy Impala. A woman sitting in the car with him was grazed by a bullet. Police believe his death was related to drugs. Abram had previous arrests for possession and trafficking. No arrest has been made.

21. Oct. 5 - Monterius Rollins, 18, was shot at 1111 Arcadia Ave. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. No arrest has been made.

22. Oct. 8 - Leslie Townsend, 25, was shot while sitting in a vehicle in his driveway at 2302 E. 14th St. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Shermaine Menifee was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

23. Nov. 10 - Dana Wilkes, 48, was last seen Nov. 9 near her home in the 100 block of Palo Verde Drive. Her body, headless and handless, was found Nov. 25 in the 3700 block of Youngstown Road. A cause of death has not been determined. No arrest has been made.

24. Dec. 26 - Robin Sanders, 51, was attacked and killed. Her boyfriend, Dennis Weyers, called police after he said he woke up to find her dead. Weyers, who said he was the only one with her since Dec. 23, is charged with criminal homicide.