Cleotha Abston is being charged with first-degree murder for kidnapping and killing Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher.
He could face the death penalty.
Cleotha Abston, the man accused of kidnapping and killing young Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher, was back in court on Wednesday, when he was ordered held without bond related to the most serious charges.
Abston, 38, appeared in a Tennessee court for a 10 a.m. ET arraignment on charges of first-degree murder, premeditated murder and murder in perpetration of kidnapping.
He wore a green-colored, jail-issued jumpsuit, a white undershirt, a face mask and handcuffs, with his hands behind his back. He largely looked straight ahead with squared shoulders throughout the appearance. His attorney could be seen speaking with him at length before Wednesday’s arraignment began.
Abston has now been charged with rape and abduction from 2021.
Why not sooner?
The rape kit sat around for an entire year untested.
– A recently tested rape kit from a case back on September 21 of 2021 has been connected to the man charged with kidnapping and killing Eliza Fletcher.
Rape kit sat around for a year.
Eliza Fletcher should still be alive.
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) September 13, 2022
A recently tested rape kit from a case back on September 21 of 2021 has been connected to the man charged with kidnapping and killing Eliza Fletcher.
The DNA match came back the same day Fletchers body was found behind an abandoned house in South Memphis. According to Memphis police, a sexual assault report was taken on September 21, 2021.
The sexual assault kit was submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation two days later. WREG reached out to the TBI to find out why it took nearly a year before a match was made to Abston-Henderson.
The agency said the sample they received in September of last year was not submitted as a rush case. Therefore, it was placed with the standard casework which can have an average turnaround time of 33 to 49 weeks.
If authorities had done their job, would Eliza Fletcher still be alive?