Neighbors Stunned By Arrest Of “Nice Guy” Murder Suspect

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Residents of a Huntsville apartment complex said they are stunned by the arrest of one of their neighbors after a woman's body was discovered in the apartment unit where he reportedly lived.

Huntsville police charged 30-year-old Kenyatta Martin with one count of murder shortly after they found the body of 22-year-old Aviona Bronson at the Executive Lodge Apartments on John Wesley Way. Investigators said the grisly discovery came to light on Monday after a woman who identified herself as Martin's wife walked into the Regions Bank in downtown Huntsville and told security guards that her husband had just confessed to killing someone.

Neighbors who spoke with WHNT News 19 on Tuesday said Kenyatta Martin lived in the apartment unit, and was romantically involved with Aviona Bronson, who reportedly started visiting in the last few months. Several residents said there was no sign of anything suspicious leading up to the shocking discovery.

"He never gave me any trouble, always spoke to me, smiled, he was a nice guy from what I knew," said Patrice Hill. "It's totally weird. We live directly next door, our bathroom is back-to-back. That's what is so shocking and throwing all of us for a loop."

Neighbors described Martin as the quintessential nice guy, often spotted wearing his work uniform for Coca-Cola while going to and from his apartment. One resident said Aviona Bronson was a frequent visitor to the complex. The coroner's office said Bronson may have been dead for as long as three days before her body was found.

"They were just, you know, lovey-dovey, back and forth," said Executive Lodge resident Denzel Smith. "I might see her come through, stop by, leave, that's about it...I have daughters. It bothers me to have something like that happen over here."

Madison County Coroner Craig Whisenant said an official cause of death is still pending, but confirmed that Aviona Bronson did not die of a gunshot wound. He said the victim was not shot at all, despite initial police reports that suggested otherwise.