Memphis officials released new details Jogger kidnapping Eliza Fletcher, the suspect in the deadly kidnapping, appeared in court Wednesday to face murder charges.
The suspect, Cleotha Upston Henderson, 38, appeared in Shelby County Criminal Court to answer to first-degree murder, premeditated murder and first-degree kidnapping. A judge ordered him held without bail pending a bond hearing.
Henderson did not enter a plea in the case.
Attorney Jennifer Case of the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office told the court that while Henderson confirmed her office wanted to defend him, he filed a motion raising issues about that representation, which were not made public in court.
Judge Louis J. Montesi Jr. ordered the defendant to return to court Thursday as he worked to resolve the issue of his representation.
“In light of Ms. Case’s issues, I will not go until I can resolve them by tomorrow and see another attorney for you if necessary,” Montesi told Henderson, who appeared in court handcuffed and under heavy guard.
Montesi also stated that moving forward based on the defendant’s statement corroborating the defendant’s real name, he would refer to the defendant as Cleota Henderson. Police and prosecutors previously identified the suspect as Cleota Abston.
It will be Henderson’s second court appearance. On Tuesday, Fletcher was arrested on charges of aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence in connection with her disappearance, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said. Henderson was charged over the weekend with counts unrelated to Fletcher’s kidnapping, including identity theft, theft of property valued at $1,000 or less and credit card fraud.
Fletcher was charged with murder after police identified a body found in the back of a vacant South Memphis duplex as that of Fletcher on Tuesday. Police discovered the remains of the married mother-of-two several miles away from where she was abducted during an early morning jog on Friday.
New Memphis Jogger details revealed
A new affidavit from the complaint filed by investigators in the case and made public Tuesday evening details how police found Fletcher during a four-day manhunt.
Members of several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were going door-to-door in a South Memphis neighborhood looking for Fletcher on Monday afternoon when officers noticed fresh tire tracks in the tall grass adjacent to the vacant residence’s driveway. , according to the affidavit.
“The officers exited and went to the rear of the location,” where they were pulled over to a set of steps north of the rear driveway, according to the affidavit. “Immediately to the right of the steps, (an officer) found an unresponsive female lying on the ground and notified members of his search team.”
According to the affidavit, the remains matched Fletcher’s description.
Further forensic analysis confirmed the remains were Fletcher’s, Memphis Police Chief Cherylyn “CJ” Davis said at a news conference Tuesday.
Meanwhile, other investigators near where the body was found found a discarded trash bag, according to the affidavit. The bag was found near Henderson’s brother’s home, where witnesses told investigators the suspect was “acting very strange” several hours after Friday’s abduction and surveillance video purportedly used in the abduction showed him cleaning the interior of a black GMC Terrain. Confessed.
“The bag contained a pair of purple Lululemon running shorts similar to those last worn by Eliza Fletcher,” the affidavit said.
A previous affidavit filed in the case described surveillance video that captured the kidnapping.
“A male exiting a black GMC SUV aggressively ran toward the victim and then pushed the victim, Elisa Fletcher, into the passenger side of the vehicle. During this abduction, it appeared that a struggle had occurred,” the affidavit states.
Citing the video, investigators said the SUV sat with the victim in the parking lot for less than four minutes, according to the affidavit.
U.S. Marshals arrested Henderson on Saturday after learning that the registered owner of the GMC Terrain lived in the same residence as Henderson, according to the affidavit. When the US Marshals Service moved in to make an arrest, Henderson allegedly attempted to flee in an SUV, but was quickly taken into custody.
During the investigation, Henderson, who works at a dry cleaner, refused to tell investigators anything about Fletcher’s whereabouts, according to the affidavit. On Tuesday, Davis said, “We haven’t gotten much information from that person (Henderson).”
Ending Fletcher’s run
Friends and strangers have been throwing flowers and balloons at makeshift memorials at the site where police say Fletcher was abducted and at the vacant home where her body was found.
Danielle Heinemann, an avid runner in Memphis, said Friday she’s organizing a 10-mile run called “Let’s Finish Lisa’s Run.”
Heinemann told the ABC affiliate station WATN in Memphis His Facebook post announcing the run has been well received. He said the initial plan was to go back to where he was abducted near Fletcher’s home.
“However, this has exploded since my original Facebook post,” Heinemann said, adding that he has now moved the start of the run to respect the Fletcher family’s request for privacy “so that the crowd is not near his home.”
Memphis resident Chris Rudy, also a runner, stopped by the memorial where Fletcher was abducted and told WATN that he ran in the area when he was a college student. He said he was “shocked” by Fletcher’s fatal abduction.
“I think I can speak for every woman in Memphis right now,” Rudy said, “It’s gut-wrenching, it’s heartbreaking, nobody deserves this.”
Copyright © 2022 ABC News Internet Ventures.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”