The murder of Eliza Fletcher, Cleotha Abston was arrested over the weekend. The 38-year-old was recently released after spending 20 years in jail for a previous kidnapping.
In 2000, Abston was convicted of the aggravated kidnapping and robbery of Memphis lawyer Kemper Durand, Shelby County court records show.
According to the Commercial Appeal, Abston was only 16 years old. At that time, he and another man Marquette Cobbins forced Mr. Durand into the trunk of a car at gunpoint. They then drove to an ATM to force him to withdraw money.
When they arrived at a Mapco gas station, Mr. Durand yelled for help after spotting an armed Memphis Housing Authority guard, court records show.
Although Eliza Fletcher was a schoolteacher, she was also an heiress to a billion dollars.
Fletcher’s grandfather was the late Joseph “Joe” Orgill III. He ran Orgill Inc.
The hardware supply company currently employs more than 5,500 people.
Orgill, died at 80 years old in March 2018. He was a respected businessman and philanthropist in Memphis, according to his obituary in the Commercial Appeal newspaper.
The company says it is “world’s largest independently owned hardlines distributor providing retailers across North America and in more than 60 countries throughout the world access to over 75,000 products and industry-leading retail services.”
Under her grandfather’s leadership, Orgill Inc. went from a regional business to a worldwide leader in hardware supplies.
Forbes listed Orgill as the 143rd-largest private company in the country in 2021, raking in $3.2 billion in revenue that year.
According to Historic Memphis, Orgill is the city’s oldest running business, founded in 1847.
The murder of Eliza Fletcher, Cleotha Abston comes from a different background.
His brother Mario Abston was also arrested on separate charges as part of the police investigation, the Memphis Police Department said on Twitter.
He is facing three counts. The counts include possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture and sell fentanyl. As well as possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture and sell heroin. Additionally, possession of a firearm during the Commission of a dangerous felony.
Abston will be arraigned Wednesday on charges including first-degree murder. This adds to his kidnapping and other charges he already faced, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said.
Eliza Fletcher was abducted while jogging. Officials recovered her body on Monday in the rear of a vacant duplex in the Tennessee city roughly 7.5 miles from the surveillance video. The video shows Fletcher being forced into an SUV early Friday, Memphis police said.