Minkley admits to killing Leah Martin

Minkley said he chose to help Blair because Blair could provide financial assistance for his future business endeavors. Minkley said Blair and Martin had a romantic relationship. Blair is the paternal grandfather to Martin’s child.

“E.C. was referring to Leah as ruining his life,” Minkley said. “… It was specific. He wanted her dead. Ross wanted her dead and out of the picture.”

Chris Hernandez, a former car salesman at Clay Cooley Auto Group, took the stand and testified he sold new car to Krista Hellams, Ross Hellams wife, and Blair had co-signed on Hellams 2015 Dodge Journey, which was later repossessed for failure to make payments.

“I didn’t know [Krista] exact credit score, but she could buy a car. She did, but she needed help,” Hernandez said.

A few weeks later, Hernandez said he met Martin on his lot looking for the same make and model, which he estimated cost $24,000 after assessing tag and title fees.

“It was only a couple of weeks, if that,” Hernandez said. “… Leah was trying to push me to make this happen.”

Hernandez said Blair originally intended to co-sign Martin’s loan, but asked Hernandez to put everything off for a couple of days before breaking off all communication.

Once Minkley saw Ross Hellams pull up to his home in a new model Dodge Journey, he change his stance on providing the murder free of charge.

“I wasn’t gonna charge him nothing … Next thing I know, Ross was showing up in a brand-new car,” Minkley said.

He later added Blair agreed to forgive the debt on a truck Minkley put a $2,300 down payment on early that year and also provided $200 to transfer the title.

Monday, Roe took the stand and maintained the statements made in her original report. Roe originally determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation, but testified the advanced decomposition of Martins remains made her determination difficult.

“I can’t see bruises, marks if there isn’t any tissue there,” she said. “I can’t see if there was an injury there ... She was past the point.”

Although Roe said she did not find any sign of head trauma at the top of the skull, she would not rule out that head did not take place while under cross examination by Defense Attorney David Wimdberly. During a redirection by the prosecution, Roe said it is not uncommon for there to be no skull fractures in cases of intense head trauma and alluded to previous car accidents she investigated. She did testify to noting trauma to Martin’s jaw, neck and lower arm, but rule out amputation to her left hand and right foot stating it seemed like natural decomposition and those remains were never recovered.

“Because of the advanced decomposition of the soft tissue, I cannot exclude trauma to the skull,” Roe said. “... Decomposition changes to not allow me to answer that question.”

Graham Police Department Criminal Investigator Jeff Smith then took the stand and confirmed Minkley’s allegation that the relationship between Blair and Martin was sexual in nature. He said he originally believed another employee at E.C.’s Auto Repair committed the murder, due to his romantic relationship with Martin taking place around the same time as her relationship with Blair. However, Smith ruled out the suspect after surveillance footage taken the night of Martin’s murder confirmed he was with his wife in Wichita Falls.

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