Whitesburg KY

Murder suspects again enter not guilty pleas

A Letcher County woman and her lover pleaded not guilty in Letcher Circuit Court this week to capital murder charges in the death of Dradrick “Drad” Fleming.

Fleming’s wife, Stephanie Yvonne Jones Fleming, and her lover, James Ray Maggard, were in court Tuesday to answer indictments charging them with complicity to capital murder and up to six other counts.

During the August 7 arraignment, public defenders representing Stephanie Fleming filed a motion asking that Mrs. Fleming be allowed to wear street clothes and not be visibly shackled during court appearances in an effort to avoid pretrial publicity. Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright didn’t rule on the motion and said that decision would be up to the Letcher County Jail.

Attorneys for both Maggard and Mrs. Fleming entered motions seeking discovery, which is all evidence gathered in the case so far, and asking that all evidence be preserved.

A hearing on the motions has been set for January 11. A pretrial conference is scheduled for January 25.

Wright ordered Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II to begin providing discovery material to the defense.

Drad Fleming’s badly burned body was found in his red 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup on the afternoon of June 23 after Maggard walked into the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office and confessed to killing Fleming. Maggard then led police to the site of Fleming’s body near a mine site on Black Mountain near Eolia.

Maggard told deputies he beat 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 say 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 stillalive Fleming to the mine site near Franks Creek before pouring an accelerant on Fleming and the truck and setting them both afire.

The grand jury has charged Maggard, 33, of 410 Goose Creek Road, Neon, with capital murder, tampering with physical evidence, theft, hindering prosecution, arson, and kidnapping.

Mrs. Fleming, 30, of 989 Hwy. 2545, Thornton, is charged with complicity to capital murder, complicity to tampering with physical evidence, complicity to theft, hindering prosecution, complicity to arson, complicity to kidnapping, and being a persistent felony offender.

The indictments, which were returned July 26, were accompanied by a “notice of aggravating circumstances” in which Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II lists two reasons why he will seek the death penalty against Mrs. Fleming and Maggard.

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