By Tamas Mondovics
The three suspects in the kidnapping and beating of Burke County, North Carolina man Carlton Lamaar Edmondson, 29 awaited their preliminary hearing last week in expectation of their cases to be sent to a higher court. But then, things got interesting in the Mountain City Courtroom.
Prosecutor Dennis Brooks asked the judge to approve raising the charges against Michael May, 39, James Combs, 30, and Brittany Arnold to felony murder. The judge agreed, and bond was set at $250,000.
Brooks’ move raised the charge against all three suspects to first-degree murder although the body of Edmondson has not yet been found.
The three, currently held in Tennessee. Three others also involved with the case are held in North Carolina. All six suspects are accused of kidnapping Edmondson and taking him to a wooded area near Trade, Tennessee and beating him.
According to law enforcement officials while the beatings, two of which was recorded on video were taking place, the suspects were demanding ransom from the victim’s family.
Investigators said that Edmondson could not have survived his injuries and believe that the victim’s body may have been left in the woods near Trade TN.
Johnson County Sheriff Michael Reece confirmed that K9 units have searched for the victim in the Trade area several times, but have not been able to locate the victim.
“We have searched the region three times so far,” Reece said, adding “The suspects are not talking and have not pointed the way.”
Edmondson’s parents Robert Pearson and Lanisha Kincaid said the family also wants answers, need closure and are hopeful that authorities will be able to find their son.
The three suspects now facing murder charges will be back in court next week.