Reese knew Austin through his sometimes girlfriend, Jackie Grier, who had a close friendship with Austin. Reese had previously expressed dislike and jealousy of Austin based on her close friendship with Grier.
On January 28, 1992, Sharlene Austin was found raped and murdered in her bedroom. Grier and a neighbor were concerned about not being able to get in touch with Austin and went to her home. They entered through an unlocked door and found Austin in the bedroom covered with a sheet.
The police found a print of Reese’s hand on the waterbed in Austin’s bedroom. Reese confessed to the crime when the police questioned him. He said that he broke into Austin’s home and waited for her to come home. Four hours later, when Austin did arrive home, Reese hid in the closet because he said that he was scared. He came out of the closet when Austin fell asleep on the couch. According to Reese, he panicked because Austin started moving. He then dragged Austin into the bedroom, raped her, and then used an electrical cord to strangle her.