There are new developments about the three men charged in the murder of Leah Martin.
Newschannel 6 obtained the arrest affidavits for all of the three men behind bars in Young County. Those men are Ross Earl Hellams, Elton Carroll Blair Jr., and Billy Ray Minkley Jr.
The arrest affidavits reveal new information about the murder and what investigators believe might have happened the night she was killed. It also shows who investigators believe is involved in the murder, and it’s more than the three men behind bars.
According to the arrest affidavits, investigators with the Graham Police Department and the Texas Rangers learned, before Martin went missing, she was receiving threatening phone calls. The documents reveal there were two phone calls. After a series of interviews, investigators determined a woman made those calls, but no charges have been filed against her at this time. However, the documents show the woman told investigators she was paid by Hellams to make those calls.
The arrest affidavits go into more detail on what happened on the night she went missing, which was May 29th, 2015. The documents confirm the last place Martin was seen was at the EC’s Auto Repair Shop in Graham. This was the place Martin was employed. Authorities stated in the documents that surveillance footage from a business establishment across the street showed she pulled into the parking lot of the shop around 9:30p.m. on May 29th. The arrest affidavits also state the footage showed two other people were with her that night.
In the documents it states investigators conducted interviews will all of the employees at the EC’s Auto Repair Shop who knew her. The arrest affidavits state all of the employees told police they were not at the shop past 5:00p.m. on the 29th. Investigators later determined Hellams and Minkley Jr. were the two other people at the shop that night.
The arrest affidavits reveal during several interviews with police, Hellams lied about where he was that night. First, the documents state he told police he was with a friend. Then a few days later he changed his story and said he was in Wichita Falls the night Martin went missing. In the arrest affidavits, it shows authorities discovered Hellams did end up going to his friend's house that night, but for a different reason.
The documents show the friend of Hellams was interviewed by authorities. He told them Hellams was at his place the night she went missing to dispose of a sawed off shotgun and some clothes. The affidavits report the shotgun was recovered by police.
According to the arrest affidavits, the woman who made the threatening phone calls told authorities where Hellams was on the night Martin went missing. The documents showed she told authorities that he was at the EC’s Auto Repair Shop around 9:00p.m. She stated she knew this because she stayed the night at his place. Then, the affidavits state she told police he came back home with Minkley Jr. at approximately 2:00a.m. on May 30th. The documents also reveal Minkley Jr. rented a backhoe and brought it to Hellams’s property on the 30th. This is the property where Martin’s remains were found on August 5th.
Over a month later, on September 8th, while in custody at the Fort Worth Police Department for another murder, the arrest affidavit shows Minkley Jr. confessed to be involved in Martin’s murder. The document also shows he told authorities Hellams and the third suspect behind bars, Elton Carroll Blair Jr. were also involved in her murder.
Blair Jr. was arrested on September 22nd at the EC’s Auto Repair Shop. This is the business establishment he owns.
All three of the suspects have been charged with capital murder. Hellams and Blair Jr. are also charged with tampering with evidence of a human corpse. Their bonds are set at $1.25-million. The bond for Blair Jr. is $1-million.
Graham Police said the investigation is still open. Newschannel 6 will continue to follow this developing story.