Jury selection, opening statements begin murder trial
Six men and women from Stephens County will decide the fate of Elton “E.C.” Carroll Blair.
Fourteen Stephens County citizens, including two female alternates, will decide whether to convict Blair to a potential sentence of between 5 and 99 years for his alleged role in the 2015 murder of Leah Martin.
Earlier this year, A change of venue to Stephens County from Young County was approved by 90th District Judge Stephen Bristow to insure Blair receives a fair trial. Following Monday’s jury selection, the prosecution and defense will each have a day to prepare before making their opening statements 9 a.m. Wednesday inside the Stephens County Courthouse.
“It is estimated the trial will take place the rest of this week and all of next week,” Bristow said.
According to reports by the Breckenridge American’s sister paper, The Graham Leader, Blair was first charged with murder following a lengthy investigation by the Graham Police Department and the Texas Rangers. Blair, who owns E.C.
s Auto Repair in Graham, is the paternal grandfather to Martin’s child and at one point employed her. Martin was reported missing May 30, 2015. 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. Investigators did not get a break in the case until one of Blair’s alleged accomplices, Billy Ray Minley Jr. of Graham, implicated him while confessing to killing three other people during a 2014 shooting in Fort Worth. Minkley, Ross Hellams of Graham and Blair were each charged with murder and each received a $1 million bond. Blair bonded out of the Young County Jail Oct. 8 2015.
The Breckenridge American will provide updates as they become available.