Law enforcement investigators have charged aggravated arson and homicide suspect Russell Brown, 36, with first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of Harold Lee Montgomery, 39, in a Cleveland motel.
Investigation into the New Year’s Day homicide is continuing.
After Brown was arrested shortly after midnight Sunday evening, he was charged with aggravated arson by Detective Stacy Smith. As the investigation progressed, Brown was later charged with first-degree murder by Detective Brian Pritchard, according to jail records.
Brown remains in custody at the Bradley County Judicial Complex awaiting a first appearance in court.
Cleveland firefighters dragged a white male from a burning motel room Sunday morning. After removing the man from the structure, emergency personnel discovered he was deceased and had reportedly been stabbed.
Investigators with the Cleveland Police Department responded to the Days Inn motel located on Georgetown Road and began looking for clues in the suspected murder, according to Evie West, CPD information officer.
As the day progressed, detectives learned of a suspect who had also taken Montgomery’s car from the scene.
Police began looking for Brown who at that point was a “person of interest” in the incident.
Officials also began searching for Montgomery’s black-and-white Volkswagen Cabriolet which had been taken from the parking lot of the motel where the victim’s body was discovered at 7:30 a.m.
According to investigators, Montgomery and Brown had an ongoing sexual relationship for approximately 15 years, but the two were not domestic partners.
According to Lt. Mark Gibson, the two men had met for Brown’s birthday and booked a motel room.
“They had known each other since childhood and met for a New Year’s Eve party at Brown’s apartment, then left to get liquor and a motel room,” Gibson said.
An autopsy is still pending, but Gibson said according to the initial investigation, it appeared Montgomery had been stabbed multiple times in the neck and areas of the upper torso.
Cleveland Police officer Bill Parks took Brown into custody at a Twinbrook Drive address.