Police chief testifies in dismemberment trial

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A former homicide detective who is now the Memphis police chief has told a prosecutor that he smelled a strong bleach odor coming from the apartment of a man charged with killing and dismembering the mother of his three children.

James Hawkins could face the death penalty if convicted of stabbing and strangling Charlene Gaither in 2008 after she confronted him about having sex with their 12-year-old daughter.

Defense attorneys blame the daughter, saying problems between her and her mother led the girl to kill.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong testified Monday that he was standing outside the apartment when he smelled the bleach odor and that a piece of carpet had been recently cut from the floor of a bedroom, which could indicate the cleanup of a crime scene.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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