UPDATE: Local 3 has an update on the suspect arrested for the murder of Jasmine Pace last December.

Jason Chen has a new court date set for Friday, March 31st. Just last week, he was indicted on charges of First Degree Murder and Abuse of A Corpse.

A spokesperson for the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office has confirmed that Chen will be arraigned on Friday.

Right now, Chen remains in jail on a 5-million-dollar bond.

UPDATE: A Hamilton County grand jury has indicted the man accused of killing 22-year-old Jasmine Pace in November of 2022.

The grand jury has charged Jason Chen with first-degree pre-meditated murder and abuse of a corpse, according to a spokesperson with the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office.

Special grand jury hearings are conducted in private. Chen's attorneys are not even allowed to attend. Prosecutors are able to lay out as much evidence as they need to get an indictment.

An indictment is a formal charge, not a conviction. It allows the case to be moved to criminal court so pre-trial hearings can begin.

"His attorneys typically can gather a lot more information," Jerry Tidwell, an attorney with no affiliation with the case, said of the legal environment that takes place after an indictment is issued. "The district attorney's office is going to give you their discovery as soon as they have it. Now, they have to wait on what's usually called a master case file from the investigating agency."

Chen's bond remains at $5 million. He is being held at the Hamilton County Jail and Detention Center.

The date for his next court appearance is unknown at this time.

Stay with the Local 3 News app for updates to this developing story.

PREVIOUS STORY: A judge ruled there is enough evidence laid out against Jason Chen to send his case to a grand jury for a possible indictment.

Chen is accused of killing 22-year-old Jasmine pace in November.

"The victim, in this case, was a young, vibrant member of our community who had deep roots here," said Judge Larry Ables, who presided over the preliminary hearing. "There's been a lot of interest, speculation, and accusation that has been circulated in this community."

Before starting the hearing, Ables defended his decision to set Chen's bond at $5-million in December, adding it was the highest bond he had ever set and the highest bond he was aware of in Hamilton County history.

Ables said he and Chen's family had been threatened after the bond hearing in December.

"Mr. Chen's parents had to be escorted out of the building through the back hallways because of these threats," said Ables. "I also received threats after the bond hearing and security had to escort my wife and I out of the building."

Local 3 News learned Thursday that District Attorney General Coty Wamp officially upgraded Jason Chen's charge to first-degree murder.

Prosecutors showed pictures from the inside of Chen's apartment, including photos of chemical reactions to a large amount of blood.

The lead investigator on the case, Zach Crawford with the Chattanooga Police Department, testified that officers determined the blood in the apartment belonged to Jasmine Pace.

"The approximation on how much Bluestar reagent would be at least over a liter of fluid," Crawford said. "I've never seen the amount of Bluestar reagent until this case."

But defense attorneys seemed to cast doubt over the evidence presented by investigators. Crawford testified Jasmine Pace's family entered Chen's apartment after Pace went missing but before an official search warrant was executed.

Crawford testified they had taken several items from the apartment, including Pace's identification, other personal belongings and Chen's bank records.

Crawford laid out a timeline of Chen's movements the day after Jasmine Pace went missing, saying he determined Pace was with Chen at his apartment on November 22, through cellphone records, including text messages.

Crawford said Chen's cellphone records show that he went to Walmart the morning after Jasmine went missing, where he bought cleaning supplies and asparagus.

Prosecutors appeared to make the case that Chen bought more cleaning supplies through a self-checkout lane, but rang it up as asparagus.

"He did not scan the items at the self checkout aisle, which is captured on video," said Crawford. "He rang them up as asparagus and those items were further band-aids and peroxide."

The investigator said later that night right before they tied Chen to the location where Jasmine’s body was found, Chen is seen leaving his apartment with what looks like a suitcase.

About an hour later, as investigators determined using Chen's phone records, Chen was at the location where Pace's body was later found inside of a suitcase.

The investigator said Chen then later went to Walgreens again to buy more cleaning supplies.

Judge Ables sent the case to a grand jury.

Chen's bond remains at $5 million.

Stay with the Local 3 News app for updates to this story.

PREVIOUS STORY: The man accused of murdering 22-year-old Jasmine Pace in November of 2022 is back in court Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing.

We are expecting to hear more graphic details about how he is accused of killing her.

Jason Chen

Jason Chen is escorted into court Thursday morning.

A preliminary hearing is like a mini trial. Prosecutors will call witnesses to prove they have enough evidence against their defendant to try the case in front of a jury.

Chen's defense attorney could hear details about the investigation for the very first time.

"You know what you're facing at that point," said Jerry Tidwell, a criminal defense attorney with no affiliation with the case. "In order to get the case bound over, you have to submit evidence to the judge, even if they've heard it before."

Jasmine Pace went missing in November. Her family told Local 3 News she had texted her location to her mom around the time investigators believe she had died. That's how police decided that her last known location was Jason Chen's apartment in Chattanooga's Northshore.

Chen's arrest warrants say police found Pace's belongings, cleaning supplies, and a large amount of Pace's blood inside of Chen's apartment.

Police found Pace's body in a suitcase in Suck Creek nine days after she last spoke to any of her friends and family. Investigators said she had been stabbed about 60 times and her ankles were bound to her wrist.

"Her bound position is such that virtually all of the wounds can be inflicted with her in that position," Steven Cogswell, the deputy chief medical examiner for Hamilton County, said while testifying at Chen's bond hearing in December.

Many of the details of the investigation typically released during a preliminary hearing were already discussed at Chen's bond hearing, when he was issued a $5 million bond. The only piece of evidence we have not heard but know exists is Pace's autopsy report, which has not been made public yet.

If Chen does not enter a guilty plea, the judge can either bound the case to the grand jury for an indictment ahead of a trial or dismiss the charges.

"I believe there are some real issues for Mr. Chen," said Judge Larry Ables before announcing Chen's bond in December.

But all prosecutors will have to do is prove they have enough evidence to try the case, a much lower standard than what prosecutors will eventually have to prove if Chen ultimately goes to trial.

Chen is due in court on Thursday at 9:00am.


Liam joined the Local 3 News team as a reporter in July of 2021. Before coming to the Tennessee Valley, Liam spent five years living around North Carolina. Most recently, he worked in Jacksonville, North Carolina as a reporter for NBC Affiliate WITN News.

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