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3rd murder charge for mall-site suspect

Man held in strangling of woman in South Memphis

By Lawrence Buser

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Memphis man under indictment for the stabbing deaths of two women whose bodies were found at the site of the old Mall of Memphis now faces a third murder charge.

Steven Fason, who lives on Jasmine Cove near Winchester and Mendenhall, was indicted this week for allegedly strangling a 19-year-old woman last year in a vacant house in South Memphis.

He is being held on $500,000 bond and made an initial appearance on the new indictment in Criminal Court on Friday.

State prosecutor Michelle Kimbril Parks said the second-degree murder cases likely will be tried separately, although evidence may be presented that one woman may have been killed to keep her from telling police about one of the other murders.

Fason, 44, was indicted Thursday on murder charges for allegedly strangling Karen Nelson after propositioning her for sex on Jan. 1 last year at a vacant house at 3238 Ashwood Drive near Getwell and Knight Arnold. Karen Nelson was sometimes known as Mary Nelson.

Authorities said an empty alcohol bottle found near the woman's body contained Fason's DNA.

In July of last year, the skeletal remains of two other murder victims -- Cathy Jean Bolton, 43, and Kathy Higginbotham, 49 -- were found at the overgrown site of the old mall near Perkins Road and Interstate 240.

A woman walking her dogs found Bolton's body on July 12 and two days later police searching for clues discovered Higginbotham's body.

Police detectives said the three murder victims and Fason were acquaintances who were frequently seen in the Knight Arnold-Perkins area.

A trial date for one of the murders could be announced when Fason returns to court later this month before Judge James Beasley Jr.

-- Lawrence Buser: 529-2385


Mall Site Murder Suspect