Charges filed against teen for Liberty man’s torture, death - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Charges filed against teen for Liberty man’s torture, death

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Brandon Fletcher Brandon Fletcher

Clay County prosecutors have filed charges against a teen after a Liberty man's tortured body was found at Smithville Lake in January.

Brandon D. Fletcher, 17, was charged with first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, first-degree robbery and kidnapping in Clay County's family court division.

Mark Thomas, 58, of Liberty, was found dead in the early morning hours of Sunday, Jan. 5 in a women's restroom at the lake with his ankles tied with jumper cables and a green plastic bag covering his head.

Thomas' family said he gave Fletcher and now-31-year-old Zachary Lisle a ride home late Friday night. They reported Thomas missing Saturday morning when he never returned home.

While searching for Thomas, family found his vehicle unoccupied about five miles north of where he had left from, at Northeast 106th Place, just off of Northeast Cookingham Drive. It had blood on the exterior.

When officers stopped at the home Lisle and Fletcher said they were staying, they found that Lisle had $566 in cash on him as well as apparent blood on his clothing, shoes and hands.

Detectives also learned while investigating that Thomas' ATM cards were used at several different locations to have several hundred dollars withdrawn. Surveillance video showed someone who appeared to be Lisle using the ATM.

While Fletcher was being interviewed, he told police Thomas was driving him and Lisle home when he was asked to pull over and Lisle then grabbed Thomas and began striking him on the head. They then put Thomas in the cargo area of the vehicle and drove to a camping area near Smithville Lake.

Court documents said Fletcher told police Lisle even poured gasoline on Thomas and he feared he would set him on fire. Fletcher admitted to helping Lisle take Thomas' body to the bathroom after they kicked and punched him in the face, struck him with an air soft pistol and ordered him to give them his PIN number.

Lisle told police that Fletcher at one point attempted to cut off Thomas' finger with a knife in order to get his gold ring. He also said the two shared a "black and mild" (type of cigarillo) after Thomas gave up struggling.

"The torture was senseless" Lisle wrote in a statement to police.

Court documents say Fletcher struck Thomas, used a dangerous instrument to kill him and stole money from him.

Fletcher was 16 at the time. According to court documents, he "has a history of experience with the Juvenile Court" and "has not taken advantage of the treatment provided."

Fletcher's bond is set at $1 million.

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