Jury finds Blair not guilty in 2015 murder of Martin

Elton Carroll “E.C.” Blair of Graham, tried for allegedly arranging the murder of Leah Martin, was found not guilty Thursday night by a Stephens County jury.

Following closing statements from the prosecution and the defense, the jury began deliberating at 11:45 a.m. Oct. 5.

By the seventh hour of deliberations, 90th District Judge Stephen Bristow received a note from the jury stating it was deadlocked 10 to 2, with 10 seeking to acquit Blair. They were sent back to keep trying to reach a verdict, which was announced shortly before 10 p.m.

Blair was one of three men accused in the murder of Martin, 22, of Graford, who disappeared May 29, 2015.

Her remains were found Aug. 5, 2015, buried on the property of Ross Earl Hellams, about 10 miles west of Graham.

Hellams, Blair and Billy Ray Minkley Jr. were accused of Martin’s murder.

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