Reddicks Trial

Carter County Commonwealth's Attorney David Flatt puts up photographs Thursday, July 20, 2006, at the opening of Clyde Reddicks' murder trial in Winchester. Reddicks is on trial for the July 2004 shooting deaths of Jeff Flaugher and Teresa Leadingham in Grayson.

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A plea agreement brought the double-murder trial of Clyde Reddicks to a conclusion after four days Friday.

Reddicks, 62, pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the July 16, 2004, shotgun slayings of his neighbors, Jeffrey “Bub” Flaugher, 26, and Teresa Leadingham, 29, in exchange for a 35-year prison sentence.

He could have gotten the death penalty had a jury convicted him of capital murder.

Rather than take that chance, the decorated Vietnam veteran opted to plead guilty, but mentally ill, to two counts of first-degree manslaughter, one count of second-degree burglary and three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.

In so doing, he admitted he killed Flaugher and Leadingham, but claimed he did so while mentally ill and under extreme emotional disturbance.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Reddicks will be sentenced to 18 years for each of the manslaughter counts, with the terms to run concurrently; 10 years for the burglary charge and seven years for the wanton endangerment counts. The burglary and wanton endangerment sentences will run consecutively with the manslaughter term.

There is some question about when Reddicks will be eligible for parole.

Defense co-counsel David Guarnieri informed Special Judge Stephen P. Ryan that he had been told by state corrections officials that Reddicks would be able to apply for parole after he has served 85 percent of his manslaughter sentence. Commonwealth’s Attorney David Flatt said that was also his understanding, although he did not necessarily agree with that position.

Since Reddicks has already spent two years behind bars, that would mean he could possibly get out of prison when he is 75.

However, Flatt said he felt it was more likely that Reddicks would never again experience life outside a prison cell.

“You’re talking about a double homicide,” he said, “It’s not likely that the parole board is going to turn him loose the first time he goes before them.”

Flatt said the plea deal was similar to one he had offered to Reddicks prior to the start of the trial on Tuesday. He said the agreement accomplished the goal he had for the case, which was “to make sure he’s locked up, most likely for the rest of his natural life.”

Flaugher’s father, Jeff Flaugher, a former Carter County magistrate, said he was satisfied with the agreement, although he was not necessarily certain justice had been served by it.

“He’ll never get what he deserves for what he did to those two, not on this earth, anyway,” he said. “But at least now, there won’t be any appeals. He’ll rot in prison.”

As deputies were leading Reddicks from the courtroom in handcuffs, they allowed him to pause and bid a tearful goodbye to his family members and supporters.

His mother, Juanita Boggs, said afterwards that she felt her son should have taken his chances with the jury rather that accept the deal.

Reddicks’ pastor and brother-in-law, Clell Lucas, also said he believed Reddicks would have had a decent chance of acquittal, particularly given the fact he had led an exemplary life — which, in addition to his military service, included 34 years of employment at the AK Steel coke plant — up until the shootings.

“Have you ever had a bad neighbor?” Lucas asked. “The man was pushed and pushed and pushed.”

Reddicks’ lead attorney, Bill Johnson of Frankfort, said the decision to accept the plea agreement was made by Reddicks alone.

Johnson said he, too, would have liked to have seen the case go to the jury, “but if Clyde is satisfied, then, I, as his lawyer, have to be satisfied.”

In his opening remarks Thursday, Johnson said Reddicks and his wife, Cathy, were subjected to a constant bombardment of crude sexual remarks, threats and other forms of harassment by Flaugher and Leadingham, who lived in a trailer about 100 feet up a hill from the Reduces’ house on Satellite Road, off U.S. 60 west of Grayson.

According to Johnson, Flaugher bragged to Cathy Reddicks about the size of his penis and once exposed it to her, referred to Clyde Reddicks as a “fag” and “red d...” and attempted to poison the couple’s two dogs by setting out pans of antifreeze for them to drink.

Flaugher and Leadingham also would ridicule Cathy Reddicks for being overweight, shouting insults down the hill at her whenever she was outdoors, Johnson said. She subsequently underwent weight-loss surgery.

Johnson said the victims also would shoot off bottle rockets in the middle of the night and aim them so the spent fireworks would land in the above-ground pool and satellite dish in the Reddickses’ backyard.

Johnson said his client suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of his experiences in Vietnam. The victim’s behavior triggered flashbacks of the war and caused him go into “combat” mode to protect himself and his wife, he said.

Cathy Reddicks, 53, was to have stood trial with her husband on charges of complicity to capital murder and first-degree burglary and criminal mischief. However, she agreed Wednesday to plead guilty to a reduced charge of hindering apprehension or prosecution in exchange for a five-year sentence. Because she has already spent two years in jail, she will be immediately eligible for a parole hearing, Flatt also agreed to not oppose an alternative sentencing arrangement for Cathy Reddicks.

Ryan, who was appointed to the case after Carter Circuit Judge Samuel Long retired last month, scheduled Clyde Reddicks’ final sentencing for Aug. 24 — the same day as his wife’s — in Carter County.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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