The convicted kidnapper accused of murdering Tennessee heiress Eliza Fletcher appeared in court Wednesday for a second day running, this time being ordered held without bond for the shocking crime.

Cleotha Abston — who has spent more than half his life in prison for an earlier armed kidnapping — first appeared in Shelby County court Tuesday to face initial charges for snatching the 34-year-old teacher as she jogged through Memphis early Friday.

He was ordered to reappear Wednesday on upgraded first-degree murder charges, which were announced just moments before his first hearing.

Abston, 38, again appeared in dark green scrubs and a black mask with his hands cuffed behind his back. He was addressed as Henderson, another surname he is known to use.

General Sessions Judge Louis Montesi ordered him held without bond — revoking the $510,000 bond that had been offered on the initial kidnapping charges. 

The suspect had only been held after telling the judge Tuesday that he could not afford that bond.

The judge also set another hearing for Thursday after Abston’s court-appointed attorney said she could no longer represent him. A reason was not given in open court.

The upgraded charges — including first-degree murder in perpetration of kidnapping — had been announced Tuesday as police confirmed that a body found dumped late Monday was Fletcher. Police have yet to reveal exactly how she was killed.

Surveillance footage showed Eliza Fletcher being violently forced into a GMC SUV.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Eliza Fletcher running.
Eliza Fletcher was out for her regular jog at 4 a.m. Friday.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

The 38-year-old suspected killer has already spent 20 years in prison over the 2000 kidnapping of a Memphis prosecutor who later admitted he assumed he was going to be killed.

Abston was only 16 at the time — and already had a lengthy rap sheet, starting with an arrest for theft when he was just 11, according to WREG.

Cleotha Abston.
Cleotha Abston was arrested after DNA linked him to a pair of slides left near the kidnapping scene.
Shelby County Sheriff’s Office via AP

From 11 until his incarceration at 16, he was arrested numerous times, and accused of burglary and assault.

He was even accused of rape when he was just 14, according to court documents obtained by Fox News Digital.

“The thing about these sexual predators, it seems it doesn’t matter how much time they do … When they get out, they’re back on the hunt,” John Kelly, a criminal profiler and psychotherapist, told Fox.

Surveillance footage had shown Fletcher, a teacher and granddaughter of a late billionaire, being violently forced into a GMC SUV while she was jogging at 4 a.m. Friday.

Eliza Fletcher.
Eliza Fletcher was a teacher.
Courtesy of Memphis Police Department via AP

Abston was busted the next day after DNA linked him to a pair of slides left near the kidnapping scene.

He was charged early Sunday with tampering with evidence and especially aggravated kidnapping.

He was also charged with misdemeanor charges for allegedly stealing a gas station worker’s wallet and using her credit cards to spend $910.

Abston’s brother, Mario, 36, also remains behind bars after being charged with drug and weapons charges. Police have stressed that he is not believed to be connected to Fletcher’s kidnapping and murder.

The accused killer drove his cleaning company SUV to his brother’s apartment complex after the crime, an affidavit said — with the brother one of the witnesses reporting him “acting very strange” as he scrubbed his car and clothes soon a few hours after Fletcher was snatched.


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