Female murder suspect held on $1-Million bond

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Reported by: Erik Avanier

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 3/31/2014 6:32 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Jessica Sterchi, 30, remain in jail on $1-million bond.

Police say she is the prime suspect in the 2011 murder of Zachary Higdon. His body was discovered inside a trailer home on the 900 block of Airport Road.

Andres Garcia recalled the morning he woke up to find police investigating his neighbors trailer.

"It's just shocking. You know you got a neighbor and then the next morning he's dead. It's crazy how things happen," Garcia said.

According to a police affidavit, Sterchi, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's brother entered Higdon's home to purchase cocaine. But they also reportedly tried to rob him. Higdon reportedly put up a fight then was shot to death.

Sterchi admitted to taking part in the crime.

During interrogation, Sterchi reportedly told police that she and the other two men drove back to Higdon's trailer and stole items that were eventually sold to a pawn shop. She also reportedly told police that the three of them went back to clean the home of any evidence that would link them to the crime. Police were also told that the murder weapon was thrown in a river. WDEF read those statements to a long time friend of Sterchi who agreed to comment as long as she was not identified.

"It just makes me sick. I don't even know how to comment on that. I don't even know what to say about that," the friend said.

The friend also said Sterchi was a different person before drugs changed her life.

"Jessica was a very good mother. A very good wife. I'm not sure at what point she started going down hill. I'm not sure," she said.

There's no word on whether police have the other two suspects in custody.

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