CHICAGO
09/18/2012 03:28 pm ET Updated Sep 18, 2012

Whitehall Hotel Murder: LaMarcus Washington Charged In Brianna Gardner's Slaying

Murder charges were filed Monday in the Aug. 13 shooting death of 22-year-old Dallas woman Brianna Gardner.

LaMarcus Washington, 28, was charged with first-degree murder in Gardner's death, according to Fox Chicago.

Gardner was fatally shot in the head inside a seventh-floor guest room in the Whitehall Hotel, a popular high-end hotel in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood.

Police took Washington into custody last month the day following the slaying. According to ABC Chicago, detectives quickly tracked Washington to the crime because he left his cell phone in the hotel room, but delayed filing charges while investigators awaited DNA test results.

Washington is a parolee previously arrested 20 times by Chicago police, leading to eight convictions and three prison sentences, Fox reports: a five-year sentence for residential burglary in 2003, a two-year sentence for aggravated battery with a weapon in 2005 and a six-year sentence on a drug charge in 2007.

Washington was already in police custody for violating parole on his latest conviction, the Chicago Tribune reports.

According to police, Gardner was arrested and booked less than four days prior to her death for allegedly soliciting men for sex. Supporters of the woman say that Chicago police and media slandered her name by focusing on what was allegedly her profession. More than 1,000 people signed a petition seeking justice for Gardner:

"Brianna was a kind, considerate young woman who should have lived a full complete life. This story has touched so many, some that were close to her and some that didn't even know her personally. Some that never met her a day in their life, only associated with her via facebook. What we do for a living does not always define who we are as people," the petition reads.

Gardner's friends and supporters have also created a website honoring her memory.

According to the Tribune, Washington, who is due in bond court Tuesday, was also arrested twice previously on prostitution-related charges.

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