The homicide of a Tennessee trainer who was compelled right into a automobile close to the College of Memphis might have been prevented had police correctly investigated an accusation of rape towards the suspect, a lawsuit filed on Tuesday claimed.
Alicia Franklin mentioned she was raped final September by Cleotha Abston, who’s now charged with first-degree homicide and kidnapping in reference to the demise of Eliza Fletcher.
In court docket earlier this month, Abston pleaded not responsible to aggravated rape, particularly aggravated kidnapping and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
In an earlier listening to, he didn’t enter a plea to the homicide and kidnapping expenses.
Based on Franklin’s lawsuit, regardless of instantly searching for medical consideration and reporting the rape to Memphis police, she was given no replace for months.
A sexual assault package together with DNA proof was gathered, WMC reported, however not examined till this yr. The DNA info was entered into the Tennessee bureau of investigation knowledge system on 5 September, in accordance with WMC, days after Fletcher was kidnapped whereas out jogging.
Fletcher’s physique was discovered the identical day behind a vacant duplex, police mentioned. She was kidnapped at about 4am on 2 September, when a person compelled her right into a sport utility car after a short wrestle, police mentioned.
Abston, additionally named as Cleotha Henderson in some studies, was arrested on 3 September after police detected his DNA on a pair of sandals discovered close to the place Fletcher was final seen.
Based on Franklin’s lawsuit, filed towards the Metropolis of Memphis, “Memphis police division failed to analyze [her] rape adequately and with due diligence”.
The lawsuit alleges that officers failed “to make use of present proof on a well timed foundation” to arrest the suspect “in time to cease him from committing at the very least one different violent felony”.
Within the swimsuit, Franklin mentioned she met Abston, who she knew as Cleo, on a courting app, they usually agreed to satisfy at an residence advanced the place Abston mentioned he labored on 21 September 2021. When Franklin arrived, the swimsuit mentioned, Abston drew a gun and threatened to kill her, earlier than blindfolding her and raping her at the back of his automobile.
Abston left Franklin in a vacant residence, in accordance with the lawsuit, ordering her to not go away till she heard him drive away.
Franklin drove to hospital, the place she was handled and the sexual assault package was gathered. After the examination she went with police to the crime scene however officers “took no bodily proof instantly from the crime scene itself”, in accordance with the lawsuit.
Franklin mentioned she gave police Abston’s title, telephone quantity and social media particulars.
“They’d greater than sufficient proof that night time once they interviewed me to get him off the streets however they didn’t,” Franklin informed ABC’s Good Morning America.
Days after the rape, Franklin was proven a photograph of Abston in a lineup of suspects. However the image was greater than a decade outdated, BuzzFeed reported, and she or he didn’t establish her attacker.
Memphis police submitted the sexual assault package for evaluation however didn’t search to have it expedited, the lawsuit mentioned.
Gary Smith, Franklin’s legal professional, informed BuzzFeed: “The failure to hurry or expedite on the DNA testing was not the one failure. They’d quite a few different methods of catching him proper on the entrance finish.”
Smith added: “If that they had taken the fingerprints, they’d have identified who was it instantly. They’d his first title. She gave them his telephone quantity. She gave them the courting web site.”