Despite reports that the suspect in the Eliza Fletcher’s kidnapping and murder has now been charged with a separate abduction and rape in 2021, Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Mulroy, who ran his campaign on criminal justice reform, says the Fletcher incident was an “isolated attack.”
Cleotha Abston Thursday was charged separately with aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, and unlawful carrying of a weapon stemming from an event that allegedly occurred in 2021, though details were not immediately available.
The 2021 charges shed new light on the career criminal who allegedly killed Fletcher.
He had previously spent 20 years in prison for a kidnapping involving a male victim.
Still, Mulroy called Fletcher’s kidnapping and killing a “isolated attack by a stranger.”
The Democrat DA, who was elected and took office earlier this year, said on the campaign trail that he did not support the state’s “truth in sentencing” law, which requires violent offenders to serve their full prison sentences.
He also claimed that the city needed “reform” because violent crime was soaring under his predecessor.
“Every year Amy Weirich has been in office, violent crime has gone up,” he said in a Facebook post in February, with an accompanying campaign speech. “She will say we can’t try reform, because we must keep people safe. I say what she’s doing, ain’t working. We Need Reform.”
“When Amy Weirich took office, violent crime was going down,” he said. “Every single year for the last 10 years she’s been in office, violent crime has been going up – to the point where now we’re number one, not in the state – number one in the nation for violent crime per capita.”
“Now, is that all her fault?” he asked rhetorically. “No. I want to be honest about that. It’s a complex process. But when she says we can’t try reform because we’ve got to keep people safe, I say ‘you ain’t been keeping us safe.'” For the last 10 years, we haven’t been safe. We need change. We need something new.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Steve Mulroy” by Shelby County District Attorney, Steve Mulroy. Background Photo “Crime Scene Tape” by Kat Wilcox.