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This story was updated May 13 at 12:15 a.m. with additional information.

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Jeanette Scholten, 34, pictured here in this undated photo, was found strangled to death inside a motel room in The Chatt Inn on E. 23rd Street on Thursday.
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Mark Howard

Chattanooga police on Thursday charged a 52-year-old man with killing Jeannette Scholten, 34, in her hotel room in March.

Mark Howard is charged with criminal homicide and is already serving a sentence in Silverdale Correctional Facility for an unrelated crime, according to police.

He was not immediately booked on the new charge and details about what evidence led police to charge him were not immediately available.

Her mother and brother discovered Scholten's body inside her room at The Chatt Inn on March 24, after they became concerned when she stopped answering her phone. She was strangled to death.

Scholten was living at the hotel, her family said. She struggled with mental illness throughout her life but had recently gotten back on her feet. She worked as a cook at a couple of downtown restaurants.

She liked the independence of living alone, her brother Carl Scholten said.

Howard has a long criminal history in Hamilton County that dates back to at least 1989, when he pleaded guilty to felony possession of LSD and was sentenced to four years in prison.

He has also been charged with multiple counts of burglary, theft, and aggravated assault, as well as public intoxication, vandalism and forgery.

The case is the third arrest police have made in Chattanooga's 14 homicides this year. Investigators have also charged a man for the fatal stabbing of Shawn Russell, 36, at a Hixson bar, and have arrested a 22-year-old man for the shooting death of Cornelius Douglas, 27, on Carousel Road.

Tavoraus Thompson, 24, is currently wanted for the death of Orlandas Gay, 26, who was shot and killed on Tuesday.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas. Follow @ShellyBradbury.

 

This story was corrected on May 13 at 3:32 a.m. to correct initial information provided by police. Howard was charged with criminal homicide, not first-degree murder.

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