MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The decision of if a lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was raped by Cleotha Abston-Henderson should be dismissed is now in the hands of a judge. 

Attorneys for the city of Memphis and attorneys for a woman who says she was sexually assaulted by Cleotha Abston-Henderson, the same man accused of killing avid runner and mother Eliza Fletcher, made their cases before a judge Wednesday afternoon.

The city of Memphis made a motion back in December asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Alicia Franklin, who wants her face and name publicized, that says Memphis Police failed to properly investigate her case.

The city argues police have no duty under law to investigate. 

In court, an attorney for the city said, “the city is in no way seeking to minimize” what Franklin claims happened to her. 

Franklin reported to investigators she met Abston-Henderson online when she met up with him at a vacant apartment in September 2021. She said he put a t-shirt over her head, held her at gunpoint, forced her to a vehicle, and sexually assaulted her before he left. 

She did have a rape kit. 

Then a year after her incident, Fletcher’s case made national news as Abston-Henderson was named as the man accused of killing her. Franklin’s attorney Gary Smith said she has been tormented by the death. 

“From the time of Eliza Fletcher’s murder, Alicia Franklin has had trouble sleeping, eating, working. It has haunted her constantly. That if I had just pushed the police to do their job, I could’ve saved her life and so she now bears a sense of guilt over Eliza Fletcher’s death,” Smith said.

But attorney Smith said through Fletcher’s case, Franklin learned police could expedite the rape kit, but at the time she was afraid for her life and even moved out of state.

“But she stayed in contact with the police, and every time she would contact them they would say, ‘we have to wait on the DNA results.’ Which we say is not accurate, but it’s what she was told,” Smith said.

Attorneys for the City of Memphis would not comment further on the case.

The judge said she would draft a written opinion. No timeline for when that will be completed was released.