Hearing set Wednesday for homicide defendant

 Floyd Cheesman 

A Terre Haute man arrested in the death of his girlfriend told police he choked the woman then covered her body with a blanket and padlocked the door to her bedroom, according to court documents. 

Floyd Cheesman, 43, was arrested Friday on a charge of murder in connection with the Sept. 21 death of Kacie Hartbank.

A judge on Sunday found probable cause for Cheesman's arrest.

Details about Hartbank's death were revealed in a probable cause affidavit filed in Vigo Superior Court 6. Police were called Tuesday to 2034 Fourth Ave. after Hartbank's body was found in her home.

A friend told police she found Hartbank's dog and tried to call her about it, the court document said. When Hartbank didn't respond, friends took the dog to her house. 

When the friends again didn't get a response from Hartbank, they got the landlord to open the house. They found her bedroom padlocked from the outside and pried off the lock. They found Hartbank face down on the floor with a blanket covering her.

Police learned Cheesman was seen driving Hartbank's car and trying to sell her jewelry and some collectible owl figurines.

On Friday, police located Cheesman at the Woodridge Motel. In an interview with police, he said he became upset with Hartbank after trying to reach her for several hours prior to her coming home. 

Cheesman reportedly told police the couple argued and he pushed her against the wooden steps of her bunk beds. While Hartbank was on the floor, Cheesman said, he got on top of her and “choked her with his hands until her body went limp and his hands hurt,” according to the affidavit filed by police. 

He said he stayed in the house for an hour or more before leaving in her car.

Floyd faces preliminary charges of murder, auto theft, theft and fraud. He is to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.

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