Jurors face decision in Fleming trial

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Closing arguments in the first-degree murder trial of Jeremy Lee Fleming were presented late Friday in Bedford County Circuit Court. The jury is scheduled to return to the courtroom Monday to begin deliberations on the case.

Robert Timothy Perkins was found dead Dec. 2, 2016 in his burning home on U.S. 231 in Deason.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Randals told the jury that Fleming committed a “selfish” crime. Blood-stained prescriptions belonging to the victim were found in Fleming’s possession when he was found in Florida after the murder.

“Almost every case we prosecute has something to do with drugs, money and women,” Randals said.

New money

Randals said Perkins had recently come into a large amount of cash from a home sale. Fleming, who had accompanied Perkins to a bank the day he made that large deposit, was determined to make that new-found wealth his own, the prosecutor told the jury.

It has continuously been presented during the case that Fleming and Perkins participated in recreational drug use together. Their association became strained when Fleming allegedly threatened Perkins with a gun to his head about a week before his death.

From witness testimony, the state also suggested to the jury that Perkins suspected Fleming might know his bank account information. Perkins had changed his bank account numbers right before his death unbeknownst to Fleming. The state reports that Fleming is on camera trying to use Perkins’ credit card at a Murfreesboro bank ATM following the murder. His transaction attempt, around $400, though denied, was recorded at that particular bank.

The state noted that on the day of his death, Perkins withdrew $2,500 cash. Randals said Fleming also had just come into $2,500 at the time of the murder. The state has revealed that Perkins’ safe, which normally included guns and money, had been emptied on the day of the murder. The state did not find that coincidental, especially since Fleming was bragging about his new money and the chance to “start a new life” on Facebook.

Evidence remains

Randals told the jury that something similar to divine intervention protected a crucial part of the state’s evidence at the crime scene. A portion of the victim’s front porch collapsed because of the hot fire, but the wood managed to protect some bloody footprints.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation forensic scientist Miranda Gattis presented an in-depth report on her findings regarding a size 10 “1 Flight 4” Jordan Air shoe print extracted from the crime scene. Prosecutors used as evidence an Air Jordan shoe found in Fleming’s possession prior to be extradited back to Tennessee from Florida in 2016.

Gattis also told in great detail of green duct tape used to bind Perkins. Duct tape of the same manufacturing detail — known as wep and wap — was found at the home of Fleming and his brother, Myron “Mo” Fleming.

Defense attorney Michael Collins disputed the validity of state’s evidence, noting there was no blood evident. Gattis had testified earlier that the blood could have been simply wiped off the shoe in the process of the wearer leaving in damp or wet grass.

Close range

Dr. Miguel Laboy, state medical examiner described in detail how Perkins was killed by a close range gunshot wound to the back of the head. He could not identify, however, any specifics of the type of weapon.

Laboy also confirmed that toxicology reports showed Perkins had carbon monoxide poisoning.

The defense claimed in its closing arguments that evidence and logistics point to “Mo”, not Jeremy Fleming. The state refuted that statement in its final closing remarks, saying “Mo” Fleming was not the one pictured at the bank at the ATM.

As for the shoe print analysis, Collins said the Jordan shoe represented a “cookie jar” of these types of shoes being sold from Tennessee to the West Coast. He called the state’s evidence circumstantial as no one person stands and stamps each of these shoe stars to make them as special as the state was indicating.

“Jeremy’s no saint or good guy,” said Collins. “But we’re not here to determine if he was a good guy. We’re here to determine what happened on Dec. 2nd (2016).”