Earlier this week, authorities located the body of missing jogger and billionaire-heiress, Eliza Fletcher, after she was reported missing. Since finding the body, they’ve named 38-year-old Cleotha Abston-Henderson their key suspect. As of now, Abston-Henderson could potentially face the death penalty.
According to the Daily Mail, Abston-Henderson is already a convicted felon. He currently faces multiple serious charges including first-degree murder, kidnapping, and tampering with evidence. A Tennessee judge has refused the suspect bail.
Given the severity of the charges tied to Eliza Fletcher’s murder, combined with the fact that Abston-Henderson has already served 22 years in prison after kidnapping a lawyer and driving them around at gun-point, prosecutors have not ruled out the death penalty.
Since locating Eliza Fletcher’s body on Monday, authorities confirmed the repeat offender and the mother-of-two had never met before. Fletcher’s body was found in long grass near an abandoned property. The property was located near where reports state Abston-Henderson had been cleaning his car. Before killing the abducted woman, authorities state he drove around with her for an hour and a half. Before then, the outlet states he had “violently” bundled Eliza Fletcher into the back of his vehicle.
The outlet reports Steve Mulroy, Shelby County District Attorney, would not state whether the suspect had sexually assaulted the victim.
Of Eliza Fletcher’s killer, however, he said, “he shouldn’t have been on the street.”
Eliza Fletcher’s Killer Boasts a Long Rap Sheet
As shocking as Eliza Fletcher’s kidnapping and murder are, it’s hardly the first serious crime suspect Cleotha Abston-Henderson has committed. As mentioned, the 38-year-old convict previously spent 22 years in prison for kidnapping lawyer Kemper Durand and holding him at gunpoint. However, per the news outlet’s report, it seems the repeat offender has spent most of his life in and out of prison and various detention centers.
Long Before Abston-Henderson would potentially face the death penalty in the murder case of Eliza Fletcher, he was first committed to a juvenile detention center at 11 years old. At the time, he’d been charged with theft of property $500 or less. The outlet reports he later became a member of the “LMG” gang which stands for “Lemoyne Gardens Gangsters.”
Between 1995 and 2000, Abston-Henderson was detained 16 separate times, on charges involving rape, aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon. In his youth, he was left in the custody of Shelby County’s Youth Services Bureau. After finally departing the juvenile detention center, Abston-Henderson then kidnapped the aforementioned lawyer.
Speaking about Eliza Fletcher’s suspected killer, DA Mulroy said, “In this particular case clearly, he shouldn’t have been on the street. Our office opposed parole at the time and in hindsight the parole decision was a tragic one. When you have repeat violent offenders, they need to be dealt with very strongly.”