MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The man accused of kidnapping and killing Eliza Fletcher was scheduled to be in court Friday, but the hearing was reset to Dec. 9.

The latest on the abduction and murder of Memphis teacher and jogger Eliza Fletcher

Cleotha Abston-Henderson is being held without bond pending indictment. Judge Lee Coffee said the defendant was within his rights to not appear at Friday’s court report date.

Last month, he waived his preliminary hearings He is charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping and tampering with evidence in Fletcher’s death. 

But Friday’s court case was focused on a rape charge from 2021. The victim in that case alleges police did not test evidence that would’ve linked the case to Abston-Henderson.

“That is the rape case that pre-dates the murder case,” prosecutor Paul Hagerman said. “The murder case has been held to the state and we are expecting an indictment on that in the next month or two.”

Two advocacy groups are calling for a special investigation into Fletcher’s murder, after what they describe as a failure by law enforcement and state prison officials.

A letter from a group called People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws asks the governor and Tennessee’s attorney general to “examine all of the government’s failings” that allowed Fletcher to be killed, saying in part, “we think it is important that the state does everything in its power to prevent future acts of senseless violence.”

The letter also warned against proposals for harsher sentences they say might be counterproductive.

The governor’s office confirmed it received the letter but it did not say whether it would take any action.