Reddicks Trial

Jeffery Flaugher watches final jury selection Thursday July 20, 2006 during the trial of the man accused of killing his son, Jeff Flaugher, in July 2004. Clyde Riddicks is on trial for killing Flaugher and Teresa Leadingham at their home near Grayson.

Clyde Reddicks’ attorney acknowledged Thursday that his client killed two of his neighbors with a shotgun, but said he did so after their behavior toward him and his wife triggered flashbacks of his hellish experiences in the jungles of Vietnam.

In his opening remarks to jurors in Reddicks’ capital murder trial, Bill Johnson of Frankfort said the victims, Jeffrey “Bub” Flaugher, 26, and his girlfriend, Teresa Leadingham, 29, subjected Reddicks and his wife, Cathy, to a constant barrage of insults, crude sexual taunts and other forms of harassment, which caused the decorated combat veteran to erupt in violence the night of July 16, 2004.

The final straw, Johnson said, was Flaugher telling Clyde Reddicks earlier that day that “he’d better not sleep.” Flaugher made the threatening remark, Johnson said, after Cathy Reddicks walked up the hill to Flaugher’s and Leadingham’s trailer and chucked a cinder block though the windshield of their Chevrolet Suburban.

To Reddicks, the statement was a clear indication that Flaugher was planning a violent retaliation for having his vehicle damaged, Johnson said.

That caused him to perceive that he and his wife were in danger, Johnson said.

“He was driven to a place where an event triggered him to engage in combat to protect him and Cathy,” he said.

Reddicks, 62, is charged with two counts of capital murder, first-degree burglary and wanton endangerment. He could get the death penalty if he is convicted.

Johnson said a psychologist would testify that Reddicks, who earned three Purple Hearts while serving with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and that Flaugher’s and Leadingham’s actions aggravated his already fragile mental condition.

For instance, he said, the couple would launch bottle rockets at all hours of the night, which made it virtually impossible for Clyde Reddicks — who already was plagued by nightmares — to get any sleep.

Flaugher and Leadingham also would intentionally aim the fireworks so the spent casings would land in the above-ground pool and satellite dish in the Reddickses’ backyard, Johnson said. On one occasion, Cathy Reddicks was struck by one of the projectiles, he said.

“Their aim was very good,” Johnson said.

At one point, Leadingham was calling around trying to locate fireworks to purchase and told several people she needed them because she and Flaugher were “having a war” with their neighbors, Johnson said.

“They probably didn’t realize that Clyde Reddicks had already been to war,” he said.

Reddicks was profoundly affected by his Vietnam experiences, which included being wounded in a “friendly fire” incident that killed one of his fellow soldiers and seeing one of his comrades’ head blown off during a Viet Cong ambush, Johnson said.

Flaugher also allegedly set out dishes filled with anti-freeze in the yard and told the Reddickses “Your dogs will like that,” Johnson said.

The harassment, which Johnson said began shortly after Flaugher and Leadingham moved their trailer to a site about 100 yards up a hill from the Reddickses’ house on Satellite Road, off U.S. 60 just west of Grayson, eventually became so pervasive that Clyde Reddicks quit mowing his backyard and the couple stopped using their back porch, where they had frequently enjoyed sitting on during warm summer evenings, Johnson said.

While acknowledging the victims were far from the perfect neighbors, Commonwealth’s Attorney David Flatt said in his opening remarks that there was no justification for Reddicks’ actions.

“He decided to settle a neighborhood dispute by killing two people,” he said. “His actions left seven children without parents.”

Flatt said a remark that Cathy Reddicks made to Leadingham’s brother the day of the shootings indicated that Clyde Reddicks planned the killings. Cathy Reddicks told Phillip Criswell “that there would be a stop to the harassment once and for all,” he said.

Reddicks shot Flaugher through the door of his trailer’s master bedroom while Flaugher begged for his life, Flatt said. He then stalked through the residence, located Leadingham in a hallway and fired his 20-gauge shotgun a second time, he said. Leadingham also pleaded with Reddicks to spare her life, Flatt said.

Flaugher had his infant son in his arms moments before the first shot rang out and carried the youngster into the master bedroom with him. Leadingham’s cousin, Dustin Martin, who was living with Flaugher and Leadingham at the time of the shootings, testified Thursday that he saw Flaugher hurl the child to a bed and then attempt to barricade the door with his body.

Martin told jurors he witnessed the events from a closet in the master bedroom, where he was hiding.

Martin also testified that he was home babysitting several of Flaugher’s and Leadingham’s children when Cathy Reddicks pounded on the door of the trailer the morning of the shootings. He said he refused to answer, after which Cathy Reddicks walked away and smashed the windshield of the Suburban on her way back down to her house.

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. Since she has already spent two years in jail, she will be immediately eligible for a parole hearing.

Cathy Reddicks’ attorney, Bob Miller of Grayson, indicated Wednesday that his client would testify on her husband’s behalf.

Several law enforcement officers testified Thursday that Cathy Reddicks initially told them that she, not her husband, had shot Flaugher and Leadingham, and that she had done so by firing the shotgun into their trailer.

Two Carter County sheriff’s deputies said both Reddickes were seated on their back porch as the officers made their way down the hill to their house following the shootings.

“For some reason, their hands were behind their backs,” and they ignored the officers’ commands to place them in the open where they could see them, said Jeff May, a former deputy who now works for the Grayson Police Department.

Flatt was to resume presenting his case to the jury at 9 this morning, The trial is expected to stretch into next week.