Police make arrest in homicide, fire case


by Andrew Michalscheck

Video report by Heidi Goitia

Posted on December 8, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 12:30 PM

PHOENIX -- A Valley teen has been arrested in connection with the death of a 13-year-old girl.

Phoenix Police said 19-year-old Tashawn Treyvon Cheatham has been charged with first-degree murder, arson and theft for killing Briana Naylor.

Police said Cheatham is a friend of Naylor’s family. He was reportedly at their home on Thursday morning, and was told by Briana’s mom to leave when she left for work.

Police have not released many details, only saying that they believe Cheatham’s responsible for Naylor's death and the fire that burned her home.

Police arrested Cheatham on Saturday and say he killed Naylor before setting several small fires inside the house.

"At this point we believe she actually had died prior to the fire department arriving," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson with the Phoenix Police Dept.

Police say Cheatham attended a party Naylor's mother had the night before the fire. The next day Naylor's mother told Cheatham to leave when she went to work. He did not leave.

"The mother went to work thinking that things would be well and she finds out she's notified that her daughter's been murdered," said Sgt. Thompson.

Police said Naylor's brothers had already gone to school that morning.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner has not yet determined the cause of the death. Police also say they don't really have motive yet.

Cheatham is being charged with theft because police said he also stole and sold the family dog.

The Phoenix Fire Department responded to Briana Naylor’s home just before 10 a.m. on Thursday and arrived to find smoke coming from the house.

She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.