City of Memphis Won’t Comment on Lawsuit Filed by Cleotha Abston Rape Victim

The city of Memphis Friday refused to comment on the lawsuit filed against it by the woman who says she was raped by Cleotha Abston, the man accused of abducting and killing Eliza Fletcher.

“We do not comment on pending litigation,” said Arlenia Cole, the city’s Media Affairs Manager.

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TBI’s Average Turnaround Time for Rape Kit Analysis Is 45 Weeks

According to data provided to The Tennessee Star by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the average time it takes for the state law enforcement agency to conduct analysis on sexual assault kits (SAKs) submitted to it by local law enforcement is 45 weeks. 

That figure accounts for SAKs that are reviewed by TBI’s Jackson crime lab. In its Nashville lab, TBI tests and analyzes SAKs in about 25 weeks. In its Knoxville lab, that figure is around 30 weeks. 

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TBI Says Standard Procedure Was Followed in Cleotha Abston Rape Case

In a statement provided Tuesday to The Tennessee Star, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said it followed standard procedure on securing and testing a sexual assault kit (SAK) in a case related to Cleotha Abston, who is also accused of kidnapping and murdering Eliza Fletcher. 

The following is part of TBI’s statement:

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Eliza Fletcher Murder Suspect Charged with Kidnapping, Rape in Unrelated Case

New details have emerged about more alleged crimes committed by the suspect in Eliza Fletcher’s brutal kidnapping and murder. 

Cleotha Abston has been charged separately in an aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping case stemming from September of 2021. He is also charged in that case with unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon.

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Memphis Police Mourn Officer Who Died in Crash While on Duty

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) Friday is mourning the loss of an officer who died in a car crash while on duty.

“Memphis police officers and a citizen collided in this intersection, and at this particular time, we’ve got the Tennessee Highway Patrol that’s out here that is taking control of this investigation,”  Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said in a press conference from the scene of the crash Thursday.

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Memphis Police Report Four Christmas and Christmas Eve Homicides

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) reported that the city had a violent Christmas Eve and a violent Christmas day, including four homicides. MPD officials tweeted about one shooting homicide that occurred at 2:26 a.m. Saturday at the 1000 block of Haynes Street. Authorities transported the shooting victim to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, where staff pronounced him deceased. MPD officials said they had no information about a suspect.

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Memphis Has Violent Halloween Weekend

Memphis had a violent Halloween weekend, including three homicides, according to the Memphis Police Department (MPD).

Around 10 a.m. Sunday, MPD officers responded to a shooting at the 400 block of Laclede Avenue, where they found two male shooting victims dead inside of a vehicle. MPD officers tweeted that they have not identified any suspects in the killings.

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Memphis Launches ‘Group Violence Intervention Program’ to Curb Explosion of Gun Violence

Memphis launched its Group Violence Intervention Program (GVIP) in an effort to reduce violent crimes – namely, gun violence. Officials described it as a “proactive, holistic plan” that adopted models that had purportedly been successful in other cities, though it didn’t specify which ones.

According to the plan, the GVIP will have a czar overseeing three separate branches: a “focused deterrence” coordinator that works with organizations such as the police and social service agencies; a data, policy, community action coordinator that arranges volunteers for various community events; and an intervention coordinator that oversees the outreach workers and violence interrupters. 

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Memphis Police Officer Charged with On-Duty Kidnapping, Murder

A member of the Memphis Police Department (MPD) has been arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of another man while on duty.

According to a press release posted to MPD’s Twitter account, Officer Patric Ferguson has been charged with First Degree Murder, First Degree Murder in Perpetration of Aggravated Kidnapping, Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, Abuse of a Corpse, and Fabricating and Tampering With Evidence in the alleged murder of 30-year-old Robert Howard.

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Convicted Felon in Memphis Used a Firearm to Traffic Drugs, Feds Say

Federal officials in Memphis have sentenced a man, already a felon, to prison for possessing a firearm, possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

This, according to a press release that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee published on their website this week.

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Memphis Police Department to Stop Using No-Knock Warrants

The Memphis Police Department has decided to stop using “no-knock” warrants in the wake of the fatal shooting of a black Kentucky woman by narcotics detectives who burst into her home.

Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said the move to eliminate no-knock warrants had been a source of discussion since the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was killed in March after police detectives smashed through her front door while serving a drug warrant in Louisville.

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