Suspect in Kidnapping and Murder of Eliza Fletcher Hit with Charge That Is Punishable by Death


The man thought to be responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Eliza Fletcher may soon face the death penalty.

Police believe Fletcher, a Memphis, Tennessee, schoolteacher, was abducted by Cleotha Abston, 38, on Friday.

On Monday afternoon, police found Fletcher’s body near the apartment complex of Abston’s brother, Mario Baston, 36. The next morning, police announced they would be charging Abston with first-degree murder and murder in perpetration of kidnapping, WREG-TV reported.

Watch: Matt Gaetz Hilariously Torches Democrat Senator Accused of Bribery on House Floor

According to the legal information site Justia, persons convicted of first-degree murder in the state of Tennessee could face the death penalty.

Other possible sentencings include imprisonment for life and imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.

Police have found several red flags during their investigation of Abston.

The 38-year-old was previously sentenced to 24 years when he pleaded guilty to one especially aggravated kidnapping charge in 2000.

Pray for Eliza Fletcher's young family.

He was released in November 2020.

According to WREG-TV, police suspected Fletcher may have sustained serious injuries during the abduction after one witness reportedly saw Abston washing his clothes in a sink and cleaning the interior of his car with carpet cleaner.

Other witnesses, neighbors of Abston’s brother, told the U.K.’s Daily Mail that the 38-year-old exhibited extremely odd behavior.

“When women were around, he would sit in the truck and stare,” one neighbor named April said. “He was a weird pervert.”

“He watched me come on the porch, then came up the stairs behind me and said, ‘I will give you $100 to f***.’”

Big-Time Liberal City Proposes Forcing Welfare Recipients to Undergo Drug Testing, Treatment - 'No More Handouts Without Accountability'

April claimed she saw Abston make similar offers to at least two other women in the complex.

Another neighbor named Latoya described a similar encounter both she and her niece had with the suspect.

“He kept waving me over to him and was like. ‘I’ve got $100,’” Latoya said. “He tried to catch my niece too, tried to get her to come into the apartment with him.”

“He creepy, he really creepy,” she added.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , ,
Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
Topics of Expertise
Culture, Faith, Politics, Education, Entertainment