Crime

Accused Strangler James Naulls Jr. Captured in Houston

A photo of James Naulls Jr. distributed by the Westminster Police Department amid the manhunt.
A photo of James Naulls Jr. distributed by the Westminster Police Department amid the manhunt. Westminster Police Department
In early February, the Westminster Police Department initiated a manhunt for James Naulls Jr., who was accused of having fatally strangled his former wife, 33-year-old Yasmin Usama DaHabrah, mere months after he was busted on November 14 for a domestic-violence episode serious enough to have earned him an aggravated-assault charge and required him to wear a GPS ankle monitor until his trial. He apparently cut that off before going on the lam.

Now, after being on the run for more than two weeks, Naulls has been busted in Houston, thanks in part to investigative work by the WPD's Safe Streets Fugitive Unit and the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force.

The search for Naulls was sparked by a 911 call placed at 1:59 p.m. on January 31 in regard to DaHabrah, who had supposedly fallen and needed immediate medical attention. The latter was true, but not the former: Investigators quickly determined that her injuries were consistent with a physical beating and strangulation.

DaHabrah was transported to an area hospital in grave condition, and she passed away on February 3. Soon after, the WPD issued an alert: "The family is mourning their loss and has asked for privacy at this time," it stated, "but with a renewed request for the public to help find Mr. Naulls."

The latest booking photo of James Naulls Jr. - HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
The latest booking photo of James Naulls Jr.
Houston Police Department
Such assistance was necessary because WPD officers believed "some of Mr. Naulls’ friends or family are helping him hide and evade capture."

On February 19, the WPD noted that the fugitive unit had uncovered "several pieces of information that led a coordinated effort to locate and arrest Mr. Naulls in Houston, Texas."

The previous afternoon, the Houston Police Department's North Tac Unit took Naulls into custody as he was exiting an auto parts store.

Naulls is currently being held at the Harris County Joint Processing Center on a no-bond first-degree-murder warrant. An extradition hearing is expected to take place in the coming days; detectives from Westminster will be there.

In the meantime, the department notes an additional focus "on bringing charges against those who helped [Naulls] evade capture and flee to Texas."

The DaHabrah family has released the following statement: "We are elated that he has been arrested...overwhelmed when detectives called, and couldn’t stop shaking for hours after hearing the news."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts