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Kidnapping Update: Judge upholds murder charges; case goes to grand jury

By Tamas Mondovics

The Mountain City, TN courthouse was again packed last Wednesday in connection with the ongoing case of the kidnapping, beating and possibly killing of North Carolina man, Carlton Lamar Edmonson, 29 over $700. Two weeks ago, prosecutor, Dennis Brooks upped the charges to murder against the suspects, a request that Johnson County General Sessions Judge William Bliss Hawkins upheld sending the case of the three suspects-Michael Stacey May, 39, James Parker Combs, 31, and Brittany Michelle Arnold, 25, to a Johnson County grand jury. With more charges pending, a key piece of evidence—Edmonson’s body still missing—the three now face charges of first-degree felony murder, aggravated kidnapping, conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping, extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and aggravated assault. Two cell phone videos recovered from the defendants’ phones showing the victim pleading for his life, then being kicked in the head falling into the snow and laying motionless with temperatures hovering in the low 20’s was enough for the judge to do his job. The videos are believed to have been shot in Trade, Tennessee while arrangements for ransom were being made. Officials said that at least one of the suspects claim that the victim was alive when they left him, but Edmondson has not been seen or heard from since. No trial dates have been set.