Defendant set the victim’s body on fire after he killed her
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the MURDER conviction, by a Fulton County Superior Court Jury, of WALLACE MUHAMMED, 48, in the beating and strangulation death of 60-year-old LINDA JARRARD.
On April 13, 2013, Wallace Muhammed broke into Linda Jarrard’s room, where she had been living, at the Town and Country Motel on Metropolitan Parkway in Southwest Atlanta. The victim did not know the defendant, but Muhammed removed a window pane, reached in, and unlocked the motel room door. Muhammed initially told police he believed the room was empty and he was there to seek shelter but later admitted during trial that he clearly knew someone was in the room. Ms. Jarrard heard what sounded like someone breaking into the room, so she stepped out of the bathroom to see what was happening. When Ms. Jarrard spotted Muhammed, the victim screamed and said she was going to call 911. To keep Ms. Jarrard from calling authorities, Muhammed viciously attacked the victim beating her with his hands and fists, causing the victim to suffer a brain hemorrhage. Using his hands, Muhammed choked the victim to prohibit her from screaming and alerting police. The force of the strangulation was so great that it fractured a bone in Ms. Jarrard’s neck. She died as a result of the strangulation.
After Muhammed murdered the victim, he decided to have sex with her corpse. Muhammed then took Ms. Jarrard’s body into the bathroom, propped the victim’s legs against the shower wall, grabbed her cigarette lighter and some bed sheets, and then set her body on fire. Muhammed fled the hotel room. The owner of the Town and Country Motel discovered Ms. Jarrard’s body and called 911.
The case went cold for six months, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation received a Combined DNA Index System match for Muhammed after processing the sexual assault kit that was collected from Ms. Jarrard. The defendant’s DNA was also found under Ms. Jarrard’s fingernails. Muhammed’s DNA was located in the CODIS system because he had previously been arrested 32 times. During a meeting with the defendant, Detective B. Zimbrick, from the Atlanta Police Department, confronted Muhammed with the DNA evidence, and the defendant made a full confession. However, he entered a plea of not guilty before going to trial.
A Fulton County Superior Court Jury found MUHAMMED guilty of MURDER, FELONY MURDER, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, NECROPHILIA, BURGLARY, AND TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE. MUHAMMED was sentenced to LIFE WITHOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE PLUS 40 YEARS.
Judge Thomas A. Cox, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Assistant District Attorney Ryan Piechocinski prosecuted the case. He was assisted by Assistant District Attorney Tasha Pennant and Investigator Tiffany Griffin of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Detective B. Zimbrick of the Atlanta Police Department was the Lead Investigator in the case.