Death in Room 223

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Days Inn housekeeper Sharron James was told just before noon on Sunday that the guest in room No. 223 was still sleeping. The guest, Tyrone Middleton, hadn’t yet checked out and James said she entered the room in an attempt to wake him up.

According to Selma Police Department Lt. David Evans, Middleton, 25, of Tyler died from head injuries sometime between 11:32 p.m. Saturday and 10:22 a.m. Sunday.

Evans added that law enforcement authorities found a wound on Middleton. A hole in the wall, possibly caused by a bullet, was plainly visible in the motel room.

Days Inn front desk manager Leslie Goodwin said Middleton had patronized the motel for the past six years. &uot;He was a regular customer,&uot; Goodwin said. &uot;He came here all the time. We knew him.&uot;

According to Goodwin, Middleton checked in at 11:30 p.m. Saturday and was expected to check out on Sunday before 11:30 a.m.

Housekeepers and Surekha Bhakta, wife of Days Inn Manager Harry Bhakta, checked on Middleton and found him lying in bed. Goodwin said Bhakta knocked on the wall in an attempt to wake Middleton up before speaking with her husband.

Harry Bhakta then entered the room, Goodwin said, and that’s when he saw the blood and called police. By the time housekeeper Sharron James told Bhakta of the death, law enforcement authorities had already been contacted.

Goodwin, who has worked at Days Inn for five years, said employees feel as if they know their regular customers. &uot;It unnerves you,&uot; Goodwin said. &uot;You grieve for the family, but there’s nothing you can do in that situation.&uot;

Goodwin noted that Middleton’s room hadn’t been broken into Saturday night; housekeepers found it unlocked Sunday morning. Also, no cars had been broken into the night of the homicide. &uot;I’m not scared here,&uot; Goodwin said.

Evans said no one was in custody as of Monday morning.