Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Other Woman

During the discussion about a possible serial killer operating in and around Utica I mentioned my vague recollection of a dead woman discovered floating in a hot tub. Some astute readers later identified the woman in question as Tenesha Sessoms, who died under questionable circumstances back in December of 2006. While she doesn't match the profile of the hypothetical serial killer's other victims (she was black while they were slim, petite, brunette caucasians) her death is just as tragic and equally puzzling.

Troopers found the body of Tanesha Sessoms in a Jacuzzi at 2363 Oneida St. after the homeowner, Christopher Roberts, reported the death around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, investigators said.

As state police await final autopsy and toxicology results to determine how Sessoms, of Steuben Street, died, police were questioning whether medicinal or recreational drug use had anything to do with her death. They also were trying to obtain Sessoms’ medical records.

In the meantime, investigators have not yet ruled out foul play, they said.

According to investigators, Sessoms arrived at Roberts’ residence late Friday night and she was in the Jacuzzi sometime before Roberts went to bed shortly after midnight. Roberts then discovered Sessoms’ body when he awoke several hours later.

Police were still looking into how Sessoms and Roberts knew each other.

According to this News 10 Now story the discovery of Ms. Sessom's body lead to the arrest of Mr. Roberts on multiple drug counts:

Tuesday, police arrested Roberts charges for possessing, selling, and growing marijuana. Police seized 250 plants and other equipment from his home, street valued at about $200,000.

They said Roberts is very important to the investigation of Sessoms' death.

"He was the last person to see her alive, so certainly he is a person that is very important to this investigation. At this point, I will say he has been very limited in his cooperation regarding this investigation," said Troop D Lieutenant David Krause.

A third story from an unknown source (Post-Standard? Rome Sentinel?) repeats most of the second article's details, but adds the revelation that Mr. Roberts was moving a considerable amount of cocaine:

As investigators await final autopsy and toxicology results that could take between two and four weeks, all possible causes for Sessoms death are being explored, said state police Lt. David Krause of the Oneida barracks. Sessoms’ death was reported by Roberts’ neighbor around 6:15 a.m. Saturday after Roberts found Sessoms in a hot tub on his back porch, Krause said.

“At this point, I wouldn’t even call it a suspicious death,” Krause said.
In the meantime, investigators have said one avenue they were looking at was whether medicinal or recreational drug use had anything to do with her death.

Roberts was charged with felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of marijuana and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, as well as misdemeanor counts of unlawfully growing marijuana and criminal possession of a controlled substance, Krause said.

Within the first 48-hours surrounding the investigation into Sessoms’ death, Krause said Roberts allegedly provided another person with cocaine.

Roberts is in the Oneida County jail on $30,000 bail awaiting a felony hearing Monday in Paris Town Court, police said.

I can't find anything about the disposition of the case after Mr. Roberts' felony hearing.