Crime

Police arrest man in strangling of Gulfport woman

Gulfport police arrest Willie Cenales, 34, of Gulfport, on Tuesday in the March 2 strangulation of Tammy Brown, a 52-year-old Gulfport woman.
Gulfport police arrest Willie Cenales, 34, of Gulfport, on Tuesday in the March 2 strangulation of Tammy Brown, a 52-year-old Gulfport woman. jmitchell@sunherald.com

Police say a Gulfport man strangled a woman at her home in the 4700 block of 11th Street the morning of March 2.

Gulfport police arrested Willie Cenales, 34, on a murder charge in the killing of Tammy Brown Gills, 52.

He is held in the Harrison County jail on $2 million bond set by Justice Court Judge Louise D. Ladner.

Lt. Matt Thomas said Cenales and Brown Gills knew each other.

Gulfport police worked with Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove, the state medical examiner’s office and the state crime lab. Thomas said police waited to report the woman’s killing because they didn’t want to undermine the investigation, adding they did not believe Cenales posed any additional threat to society.

The motive for the killing is not yet clear, Thomas said.

Cenales’ previous arrest, according to the Harrison County jail docket, is a 2011 arrest for misdemeanor public drunk and public profanity. He also was cited for contempt of court. He subsequently was charged with contempt of court for failure to appear in February 2015 and failure to pay old fines in April 2015.

Sun Herald will update this story.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_

Tammy Brown, 52, was strangled in her home on March 2. Police say they waited to report the woman’s death because they wanted to protect the investigation and didn’t believe the suspect posed any additional threat.

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