(MOUNTAIN CITY, TN) A judge in Tennessee ruled late Wednesday that despite the fact victim's body has not been found, murder charges against two men and a woman will be bound over to criminal court for trial.
Stacy May, Brittany Arnold and James Combs are accused of kidnapping of Carlton Lamaar Edmondson who was taken out of Burke County and held for ransom. Authorities believe Edmondson was beaten to death in a wooded area near Trade, Tennessee. So far, though, his body has not been found.
Two weeks ago, prosecutors announced they were filing first-degree murder charges against the three. Authorities have also accused three others with kidnapping and other charges, though not a murder accusation at this time.
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In court Wednesday, court officials indicated that more charges could be filed against them too. A key piece of evidence, they believe, are two cell phone videos recovered from phones the defendants had with them. The videos show the victim in a snow covered wooded area pleading for his life.
It's believed the videos were shot in Trade, Tennessee while ransom calls were being made. Investigators believe Edmondson was kidnapped because of a drug deal that went bad. The suspects wanted the victim's family to pay $700.
At the end of the second video the victim is sitting up with obvious wounds to his face and saying he was sorry. Moments later he was kicked in the head falling over into the snow and was motionless.
At least one suspect told authorities they thought he was still alive when they left him. Temperatures hovered in the low 20's that day. Three people did go back for him later, but no one has said what happened then, only that Edmondson has not been seen or heard from since.
His mother and father watched the videos in the courtroom. At one point they left the room but later did return.
"It let me know how they did my son and how evil exists in this world," Lanisha Kincaid said.
She is asking the suspects to tell authorities where her son's body is.
"Please give him back to us," she said.
Investigators say they will keep following every lead until they find him. As for the suspects, their cases are expected to go before a grand jury next month. No trial dates have been set.