Why Eliza Fletcher’s Killer Cleotha Henderson Served 20 of 24 Years

Authorities and court documents indicate that Memphis murder suspect Cleotha Henderson spent roughly 20 years of a 24-year sentence in state prison after his conviction in the May 2000 kidnapping and robbery of attorney Kemper Durand.

Due to Henderson’s history of violent crime, the court ordered him to serve “100%” of his 24-year sentence under the Sentence Reform Act of 1989. His record as a juvenile offender included five counts of serious assault, a rape charge after he reached 14, and the kidnapping of Durand at gunpoint at the age of 16.

Why Eliza Fletcher's Killer Cleotha Henderson Served 20 of 24 Years
Why Eliza Fletcher’s Killer Cleotha Henderson Served 20 of 24 Years

Between September 1997 and October 1999, he was charged with five counts of aggravated assault. From 1995 to 1999, he had seven separate stealing cases, in addition to trespassing and fleeing arrest offenses. After his fourth offense as a juvenile in 1997, he was placed in juvenile detention.

Henderson, who is now 38 years old, has spent more than half his life behind bars in Tennessee. Eliza Fletcher, a mother of two from Memphis, was abducted and slain while out on a morning jog on the day he was supposed to have been behind bars.

The Memphis district attorney’s comments about the suspect were “defamatory” and “untrue,” thus the Tennessee Board of Parole decided not to grant him a parole hearing on Wednesday.

Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy “falsely said in a national TV appearance that Cleotha Abston [Henderson], the alleged kidnapper of deceased Memphis educator Eliza Mitchell, had been paroled,” according to a statement released by the Tennessee Board of Parole. This is a totally false and slanderous accusation.
In a long statement, the parole board denied that its procedure had anything to do with Henderson’s freedom.

According to Dustin Krugel, the board’s director of communications, “the Board had no involvement in Mr. Henderson’s release as he was not parole eligible owing to his sentence structure, which is determined by the courts who apply the statutes established by the state legislature.”
According to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital, Henderson was not eligible for a parole hearing and therefore never received one.

‘The parole board has contacted the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office and demanded an immediate retraction,’ Krugel said.

Authorities state that a suspect’s parole eligibility is based on the statute and the law under which he or she was convicted.

Inmates’ time is tracked by the Tennessee Department of Correction, as stated by Krugel. In accordance with sections 40-35-501, 40-28-115 through 117 of the Tennessee Code Annotated, “TDOC calculates eligibility by computing sentences and sentence credits (time served or provided as incentive).
Court records reveal that Henderson received a 512-day credit for time served, and police have hinted that he may have been eligible for extra credit incentives.

Fox News was told by the communications director for the Tennessee Department of Corrections that “he earned credit, as required by law, for the time he spent in jail prior to being sentenced and program credits.”

Several days’ worth per month, depending on how long a convict has been locked up. If they misbehave, they may receive a penalty.

When deciding whether or not to grant a parole-eligible criminal community supervision by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “public safety is always the board’s No. 1 consideration,” Krugel said.

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On Wednesday morning, the defendant asked the judge to use his father’s surname, Henderson, in future court appearances.

On Thursday morning, he must appear in court once more. His brother was also detained over the weekend on unrelated charges after police claimed found 27 grams of fentanyl, heroin, and a firearm in his residence during a search related to Fletcher’s abduction.

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