CLARKSVILLE, Ind. -- A southern Indiana man has been charged with murder after firefighters found a woman's decapitated, mutilated body inside her burning apartment, hours before police allegedly found her missing body parts in a suitcase in the suspect's home.
Brian Williams was ordered held without bond Wednesday during his initial hearing in Clark County Circuit Court at which a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. The Clarksville man is charged with murder, arson and misdemeanor theft in connection with the death of Melody Gambetty, 67.
A judge appointed a public defender for Williams, 36, at Wednesday's hearing, but a spokeswoman for the Clark County public defender's office said Williams had not yet been assigned an attorney.
Investigators said a fire crew responding Tuesday morning to a fire at Gambetty's apartment at a Clarksville apartment complex entered and found her body on the floor. She had been decapitated and other body parts had been removed.
Those body parts were found later Tuesday in a suitcase at Williams’ home, where police also discovered her identification card, credit and debit cards, according to court records, the News and Tribune reported.
Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer said that in his 32 years as a police officer, he had “never seen anything like this.”
An autopsy will determine Gambetty’s official cause of death, but police said she appears to have had stab wounds.
Investigators believe Gambetty was killed Monday and that Williams returned to her apartment Tuesday and started a fire to cover evidence.
Police said surveillance footage shows Williams entering the apartment building Monday afternoon before leaving about three hours later with two suitcases he placed in her car before driving away.
Witnesses at the apartment complex reported that a young, suspicious but polite man was going door-to-door Monday attempting to solicit “community service work,” according to court records.
Clarksville is located along the Ohio River just north of Louisville, Kentucky.