Murder trial moved from Graham to Breckenridge
A crime that received national attention in 2015 may come to a conclusion in Stephens County.
Elton “E.C.” Carroll Blair will stand trial for his alleged part in the death of a 22-year-old Graford mother.
A change of venue to Stephens County was approved by 90th District Judge Stephen Bristow to insure Blair receives a fair trial.
Blair was charged with capital murder and tampering with evidence following an investigation by the Graham Police Department and the Texas Rangers following the disappearance of Leah Martin. According to reports by the Breckenridge American’s sister paper, The Graham Leader, Blair was the paternal grandfather to Martin’s child and at one point employed her. Martin was reported missing May 30, 2015. She was last seen alive in Graham.
Investigators found Martin’s remains Aug. 5, 2015 in what Tarrant County Coroner Susan J. Roe described in her report as an advanced state of decay. Roe would later rule asphyxiation as the cause of death after finding a plastic bag near the skull and no signs of trauma to the skeleton.
Despite numerous searches of Blair’s property, investigators did not get a break in the case until one of Blair’s alleged accomplice, Billy Ray Minley Jr. of Graham, implicated him while confessing to killing three other people in an unrelated 2014 shooting in Fort Worth. Minkley, Ross Hellams of Graham and Blair each were charged with capital murder and a $1 million bond was set for each. Blair, who owned EC’s Auto Repair, bonded out of the Young County Jail Oct. 8 2015.
Blair’s trial was set for Aug. 22, but was postponed to Sept. 18 and, due to the nature of the case, may receive additional delays. The case is under a gag order put in place by Bristow Aug. 1, but he lifted the order for The Breckenridge American and The Graham Leader in time for publication. The Breckenridge American will provide updates as they become available.