Hellams takes plea deal in Martin murder

Ross Earl Hellams, 45, one of three men accused in the murder of Leah Martin, accepted a plea deal Tuesday, Aug. 21 and was sentenced to 20 concurrent years on three charges including murder, all related to the 2015 death of Leah Martin.

A jury trial was set for Oct. 10 in Young County, but the three pleas were accepted in district court on Tuesday, Aug. 21. Hellams is credited three years for time served from Aug. 10, 2015 .

He pleaded guilty to three counts; murder, a first-degree felony; tampering with or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair human corpse, a second-degree felony; and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced to 20 years, 20 years and 10 years respectively.

Martin, 22, of Graford, disappeared May 29, 2015. Her remains were found Aug. 5, 2015, buried on Hellams’ property, about 10 miles west of Graham. Hellams, Elton Carroll “E.C.” Blair and Billy Ray Minkley Jr. were accused of Martin’s murder.

Blair was found not guilty of the murder in October 2017, following a lengthy trial in the Stephens County courthouse. During the trial, Minkley gave the only testimony linking Blair to Martin’s murder.

In exchange for his testimony, Minkley accepted a plea deal for his role in Martin’s death, and life in prison without the possibility of parole. In 2015, Minkley confessed to an unrelated 2014 triple murder in Fort Worth.

For the full story see this Wednesday’s edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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