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Crime

Baltimore man pleads guilty to strangling two women to death, gets life in prison

A Baltimore man will serve life in prison after he admitted to strangling to death two women whom he solicited for sex less than a week apart in 2021, the state’s attorney’s office said.

Christopher Tyson, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Ashley Lambert and Denita Barrett.

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The state’s attorney’s office said a judge handed down concurrent life sentences after the women’s families testified to the toll of their untimely deaths, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Lambert, 37, had four children, and Barrett, 21, had two.

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In a statement, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby called Tyson’s actions “sickening.”

“As a mother of two girls, it pains me to think of the devastating loss of these women for the six children left behind to live without their mother,” Mosby said. “Mr. Tyson’s actions exhibited a dangerous and calculating pattern to prey on vulnerable women.”

An attorney was not listed for Tyson in online court records for the two murder cases. He is being represented by the Office of the Public Defender on rape charges stemming from an incident approximately a month after Barrett and Lambert were killed. A spokeswoman for the public defender’s office declined to comment Thursday.

The same prosecutor who handled the murder cases, Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Stock, is prosecuting the rape case against Tyson.

At the time of his arrest, Baltimore police suspected Tyson might have assaulted more women and asked for help finding victims who survived his attacks.

Barrett’s sister discovered her unclothed body in the living room of her home March 21, 2021 and flagged down officers in the city’s Westport neighborhood. Paramedics pronounced Barrett dead, and her body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where a pathologist performed an autopsy and ruled her death was a homicide caused by strangulation.

An employee of the Deluxe Plaza Motel on Pulaski Highway called 911 around seven days later, at approximately 11:30 a.m. The staffer reported finding an unresponsive woman in a room after the occupants did not check out.

Police officers and medics found Lambert face-down on the floor when they arrived March 28, 2021, the state’s attorney’s office said. She was pronounced dead in the motel.

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The medical examiner’s office later found blood on her face, noted that it appeared she had not dressed herself and determined she was suffocated to death with a maneuver like a chokehold, the state’s attorney’s office said.

Detectives reviewed surveillance footage from the area and were able to make out the last person seen with Lambert. The investigators learned that man bought something from a business in the area, got a receipt of the purchase and identified Tyson from his Visa card.

Police soon labeled him as a person of interest in Barrett’s death.

The Wells Fargo card also clued detectives in on Tyson’s address. Equipped with a search warrant and a battering ram, they forced their way into his residence when nobody answered. Police said they found Tyson in a second-floor bedroom.

In interviews, detectives recognized Tyson’s explanations were not consistent with the evidence.

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Confronted with an image of the last person seen with Lambert alive, Tyson admitted it was him, according to police and prosecutors. He told police he met Lambert online and agreed to pay for sex. In the motel room, Tyson told detectives, they got into an argument, and he strangled her with a chokehold.

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Police and prosecutors say he later admitted to killing Barrett after arranging to pay her for sex. He said he used an application to contact Barrett and that they agreed to meet at her house.

Tyson told police he jeered the woman for engaging in sex work and that she got angry, according to court documents. He said they got into an altercation, and he restrained her by the neck until she was unconscious.

In court Tuesday, according to the state’s attorney’s office, the women’s families gave victim impact statements that provided more context about their late loved ones’ lives and described the void they left.

Lambert’s relatives said she loved music, travel and was known for her sense of humor, the state’s attorneys office said. Lambert enjoyed driving to West Virginia and Ocean City with her nieces while listening to her favorite tunes.

Barrett gave birth to two children who resemble their mother so closely that family members get emotional, according to the prosecutors’ office. Her family members addressed some comments directly to Tyson.

Tyson, meanwhile, is due in reception court in June for the rape charges.


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