Man charged with rape, murder of Memphis mother Eliza Fletcher gets 80 years for raping, kidnapping Alicia Franklin at gunpoint

The Tennessee man charged with the rape and murder of Memphis mother Eliza Fletcher has been sentenced to 80 years in prison for raping and kidnapping another woman.

In September 2022, Cleotha Abston made national headlines when he was arrested in connection with the abduction and murder of billionaire heiress Eliza Fletcher. Abston is accused of forcing the mother-of-two into a black SUV, which is reportedly seen on surveillance video. Fletcher, a 34-year-old kindergarten school teacher who had been jogging on Central Avenue in Memphis when she was kidnapped, was found dead days later near a vacant duplex.

In September 2021, Abston reportedly kidnapped and raped another woman at gunpoint.

On Friday, Abston was sentenced to 80 years in prison for the kidnapping and rape of Alicia Franklin.

Abston was sentenced in the Franklin case to 40 years in prison for aggravated rape, 20 years for aggravated kidnapping, and 20 years for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He waived his right to a formal sentence hearing.

Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee ruled that the sentences would run consecutively.

Judge Coffee said Abston treated Franklin with “exceptional cruelty.”

The judge told the courtroom, “When this defendant placed a gun to her face, to her neck and told her quote ‘BLEEP’ if you say anything or move, I will kill you.’ This is especially troubling.”

Deputy District Attorney Paul Hagerman said in a statement, “We’ve been committed to justice for Alicia Franklin and Liza Fletcher since the awful crimes against them. My office asked for, and he received an 80-year maximum sentence with no possibility of parole.”

“His violent history and these crimes demand sentences that ensure he’ll get out of prison, ever,” Hagerman continued. “This sentence alone ensures that — but we are not done.”

Reaction to Cleotha Abston verdictyoutu.be

Abston, 40, was not arrested until the death of Fletcher – a full year later after his heinous crimes against Franklin.

Abston has a history of criminal charges dating back to the 1990s – starting when he was 12 years old. The judge said Abston was involved with more than 30 infractions during his life.

An autopsy report showed Fletcher died of a gunshot wound to the head, and also suffered injuries to her right leg and jaw.

Abston’s trial for the suspected kidnapping and murder of Fletcher is expected to begin on June 17.

Prosecutors have said they will pursue the death penalty if Abston is convicted of first-degree murder in Fletcher’s death.

Abston has pleaded not guilty.

Woman claims she was assaulted by suspect in Eliza Fletcher case l GMAwww.youtube.com

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