Whitesburg KY

Grand jury may get murder case later this week

Family sets service for Fleming

Investigators with the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office are expected to appear before the Letcher County Grand Jury on Thursday to testify about evidence they have collected while conducting their investigation into the June 20 beating or burning death of Dradrick “Drad” Fleming.

After considering the testimony the deputies will present against the two suspects in the case — Fleming’s wife, Stephanie Yvonn Jones Fleming, 30, and her 33-year-old lover, James Ray Maggard — the jury could hand up indictments to Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright charging the pair with capital murder if it believes they killed the 34-year-old Fleming by setting him afire or if they killed for monetary gain.

Drad Fleming’s badly burned body was found in his red 2011 Chevy Silverado pickup on the afternoon of June 23 after James Maggard walked into the sheriff ’s office, confessed to killing Fleming, and led police to the site of Fleming’s body near a mine site on Black Mountain near Eolia.

In anticipation of Thursday’s grand jury session, deputies remained busy this week working on the timeline related to Fleming’s death.

Maggard has admitted to beat- ing Fleming, who worked as an underground coal miner, with a baseball bat, and said the incident occurred on Pine Mountain near Whitesburg after Fleming confronted him with the bat. Investigators, however, believe the beating was an ambush which took place near the Flemings’ mobile home near Millstone around 10 p.m. on June 20, and that Maggard then drove a still-alive Fleming to the mine site near Franks Creek before pouring an accelerant on Fleming and the truck and setting them both afire.

Video surveillance taken outside the Hubble Mining Company’s No. 8 mine near Little Fork of Franks Creek shows Fleming’s truck driving by the mine site at a high rate of speed at 10:15 p.m. on June 20. The same recording shows Fleming walking back down the same road one hour and 37 minutes later. Maggard’s cousin who works at a nearby mine site told police that Stephanie Yvonn Fleming showed up a short time later and brought cleaning supplies and clean clothes to Maggard, who then washed and changed into the clothes in a guard shack. The cousin, Jonathan Maggard, said James Maggard put his dirty clothes in a garbage bag that Mrs. Fleming placed in the trunk of the new Mitsubishi Eclipse automobile her husband had recently bought for her. The cousin said that Mrs. Fleming then gave James Maggard, whom she met while they worked together at McDonald’s in Whitesburg, a ride from the site.

Police still haven’t found the bat used in the assault on Drad Fleming or the bag containing the clothes James Maggard was wearing.

Authorities say Drad Fleming’s body was burned so badly that DNA testing is required before a positive identification can be determined — a procedure that could take as long as six months to complete.

Meanwhile, Drad Fleming’s family has scheduled a memorial service in his honor for July 14 at 6 p.m. at the Millstone Missionary Baptist Church.

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