Eliza Fletcher suspect Cleotha Abston served 20 years for kidnapping a prosecutor: docs


The suspect charged with snatching Tennessee heiress Eliza Fletcher was accused of rape as a younger teen and beforehand served 20 years for violently kidnapping a prosecutor, in accordance with court docket data.

Cleotha Abston, 38, has a juvenile file relationship again to when he was simply 12 — with prices together with aggravated assault with a weapon and rape, in accordance with court docket data obtained by the Memphis Industrial Enchantment.

He was nonetheless solely 16 when he kidnapped Memphis-based prosecutor Kemper Durand at gunpoint within the early hours of Might 25, 2000, stories from the time present. Durand had testified that solely luck had saved him from being killed that day.

Abston was solely 16 when he kidnapped former prosecutor Kemper Durand at gunpoint in 2000.

Abston “held a gun at Kemper’s face and demanded his automobile keys” and compelled him into the trunk, Durand’s former regulation agency, Lewison Thomason, recalled in an obit after the lawyer’s dying 13 years later.

“For the following a number of hours, Kemper was trapped within the chilly darkness of his automobile trunk,” as Abston and a fair youthful teen with him “drove the automobile all through the town,” the agency’s obit recalled.

“Occasionally, the automobile would cease. The boys would open the trunk, pull Kemper out, make him withdraw cash from an ATM machine,” the obit mentioned.

It was solely “after a number of hours” that the lawyer noticed an armed safety guard close to one of many ATMs, the report mentioned.

“Kemper yelled for assist” and his attackers fled, the doc famous.

Abston was later convicted of aggravated theft, in addition to particularly aggravated kidnapping — the latter being one in every of two prices he was once more hit with Sunday for allegedly abducting Fletcher, the 34-year-old trainer and {hardware} heiress who had nonetheless not been discovered Monday.

He was sentenced in 2001 to serve 24 years in jail — and Durand fought for him to stay locked up when he tried to problem the sentence, in accordance with data obtained by the Industrial Enchantment.

“My emotions about being the sufferer of this crime, and the emotions of these round me, are that I used to be extraordinarily fortunate that I used to be capable of escape from the custody of Cleotha Abston,” the lawyer wrote in a sufferer affect assertion objecting to the 2003 bid, the paper famous.

“It was very lucky that an armed, uniformed Memphis Housing Authority guard occurred to return” throughout them, he reportedly wrote.

“It’s fairly possible that I’d have been killed had I not escaped.”

It was in that affect assertion that Durand detailed Abston’s file, noting how he had appeared in juvenile court docket data in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. The report didn’t element if he was convicted or precisely what led to the costs, together with the alleged rape.

Durand additionally ripped Abston for taking greater than a yr to signal a responsible plea, citing the refusal as “jailhouse braggadocio,” the data reportedly mentioned.

In sharp distinction, Durand had testified on behalf of Abston’s co-accused, Marquette Cobbins, to attempt to get him a lighter sentence, his regulation agency famous.

“As Kemper noticed it, the person was on the flawed place with the flawed particular person on the flawed time,” his regulation agency mentioned, making clear that the late lawyer at all times seen Abston as his sole kidnapper.

He testified to listening to Cobbins begging Abston to “cease the automobile, let this man out, give him his keys, and go!”

After his attraction, the choose agreed to present Cobbins the lightest doable sentence, the obit mentioned. He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years and was eligible for parole after 18 months, the Memphis Flyer famous on the time.

Eliza Fletcher jogging before she was violently abducted Friday.
Tennessee trainer and {hardware} heiress Eliza Fletcher was snatched Friday throughout her common 4 a.m. jog.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigatio

Durand died in early February 2013. Abston was launched in November 2020, the Industrial Enchantment mentioned.

He doesn’t seem to have any documented prices towards him within the final two years within the Memphis space — though neighbors known as him “creepy” and a “pervert,” saying he would supply them cash for intercourse.

He was busted Sunday after DNA testing on a pair of sandals left on the web site of Fletcher’s abduction, with video footage later exhibiting him allegedly violently abducting the mother throughout her every day early morning jog.

His cellphone additionally put him on the scene, and video footage confirmed he had been stalking the world for not less than 24 minutes earlier than Fletcher was grabbed, in accordance with an affidavit.

Earlier than his arrest, he was additionally seen washing the within of his work SUV and scrubbing his garments whereas “appearing very unusual,” in accordance with the doc.

Abston, 38, is being held on a $500,000 bond on prices of tampering with proof and particularly aggravated kidnapping. His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

He “declined to supply investigators with the placement of the sufferer,” the affidavit mentioned as the large seek for Fletcher continued Monday.

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