By Meg Dickens
Six defendants individually wait to face the court for the alleged kidnapping, beating, and murder of Carlton Lamaar Edmondson that prosecutors believe took place in January 2018.
The defendants are facing a variety of charges, including first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, extortion, and conspiracy to commit extortion.
According to court documents, all defendants entered an initial plea of “not guilty.”
“My worst fear is that he’s never found,” said Edmondson’s mother Lanisha Kincaid in an interview with WSOC-TV early in the investigation. My greatest hope is he’s still alive, and they’ll return him home to me.”
Per Judge Lisa Rice’s ruling and court-appointed attorneys’ requests in a Johnson County courtroom in late-October, defendants Leigh Katherine Mina (Boone, NC), Robert Leroy Littleton (Fleetwood, NC), Brittany Michelle Arnold (Mountain City, TN), Michael Stacey May (Zionville, NC), James Combs (Zionville, NC), and Valerie Ann Dollar (Boone, NC) will have separate trials This ruling should decrease the chances of a mistrial.
The defendants will have a joint hearing on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, and all motions must be made by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 7, 2020.
According to court information, two defendants allegedly took Edmondson from his home on the morning of January 19, during a drug deal. The group of defendants allegedly called his family demanding a ransom then left a
beaten Lamaar in a remote location.
During the investigation, investigators recovered two videos from the defendants’ phones of this alleged event. The said videos show Lamaar begging for his life, being struck in the head, and then falling and lying motionless in the snow in temperatures
well below freezing. Investigators still have not found a body.
“The cases are set for a motion hearing on February 25, 2020,” said Johnson County Court Clerk Melissa Hollaway when asked what she could share about the case. “You can contact the DA’s office for further info.”
The Tomahawk reached out to the Johnson County Office of the District Attorney for more information, but no one was available for comment. Previous estimates put the trial order tentatively as Littleton, Arnold, May, Combs, Dollar, and Mina.
The Tomahawk will provide an update as information becomes available. Keep an eye out for more details on the Edmondson case and upcoming trial dates.