The evidence already available in the investigation of the kidnapping and death of Memphis school teacher Eliza Fletcher is already "overwhelming" against the suspect in the case, but there will be more evidence coming, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik told Newsmax on Wednesday.
"When you look at what they have thus far, they've got the video of him coming upon her," Kerik commented on "Wake Up America." "They've got the video of him cleaning his car. They've got her shorts. Sandals that were there have [his] DNA on them."
Fletcher's body was found Tuesday near where witnesses told police the suspect in the case, Cleotha Abston, 38, had been seen cleaning out an SUV the day before and "behaving oddly."
Fletcher was snatched while she was jogging in a neighborhood near the University of Memphis at about 4:30 a.m. Friday.
Abston was initially arrested on charges of kidnapping, but after Fletcher's body was discovered, the charges of first-degree murder and first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping were added.
Abston was arraigned Tuesday on the initial charges of kidnapping, tampering with evidence, theft, identity theft, and fraudulent use of a credit card, and returns to court Wednesday on murder charges.
Kerik said that even though Abston had been seen scrubbing the vehicle, "they're going to get DNA out of the car as well," and even though there are not believed to be any eyewitnesses to Fletcher's murder, the forensic evidence, plus Abston's past, will make a strong case.
Abston was released from prison in 2020 after serving about 20 years of a 24-year sentence imposed when he was 16 years old for the kidnapping of Memphis attorney Kemper Durand.
Abston and an accomplice were arrested after having forced Durand into the trunk of his own car and drove around with him there for several hours before taking him to an ATM to force him to withdraw money for them. Durand was rescued when he saw a security guard and screamed for help, reports The Independent.
Meanwhile, Fletcher, a married mother of two, is the granddaughter of hardware billionaire Joseph Orgill III, founder of a Memphis company reportedly worth $3.2 billion, but Kerik said he doesn't think her family's wealth had anything to do with her kidnapping.
"I think a lot of it's going to have to do with his prior movements," said Kerik. "The one thing that stands out to me right now is they charged him with the equivalent of first-degree murder. You know, there was an intent of deliberate intent to grab her and kill her. There's some evidence they have that shows that or they couldn't have initiated that charge.
"Nobody wants to believe that this was just random, that this was just a bad dude out there."
Kerik also spoke out about gun laws passed in New York that will allow for no-gun zones, after a Supreme Court ruling that allowed concealed carry in the state.
"This is all theater," he said. "The bottom line is [former Mayor] Rudy Giuliani and I and some other commissioners reduced violent crime by 65% and the murder rate by 70% in New York City … we had fewer gun laws that we have now, and we were able to do it."
Instead, the government must "get rid of the prosecutors that don't prosecute, make the mayor do his job, and get rid of the bail reform."
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Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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