Flanigan acquitted of arson in murder case

Jerome Flanigan (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Turner)

CULLMAN, Ala. — Jerome Flanigan, 39, of Cullman, was acquitted of the charge of arson in the 2016 death of Leslie Clements, but continues to face murder charges, as does co-defendant Kayla Thursby.

Flanigan had been indicted on charges of murder by administration of a controlled substance with alternate charges of murder by strangulation or suffocation and reckless manslaughter by administration of a controlled substance, corpse abuse, arson and first-degree theft of property. The arson charge was tried separately from the others.

According to an order issued by Cullman County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Nicholas, Flanigan’s trial for the other charges will start on August 2, 2021.

The court originally assigned Flanigan a $65,000 cash bond in the case, and the defendant remained in jail from his 2018 arrest until the trial. Following his acquittal on the arson charge, his bond was reduced to $50,000 cash. Nicholas denied a defense request to release Flanigan on his own recognizance, but stated in the order, “Because of the Defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial, the cash bond will likely be converted to a property bond if all remaining criminal charges against the Defendant are not tried during the next criminal jury term set for August 2, 2021.”

Flanigan remains in jail at this time. His mother Sylvia Turner told The Tribune via email that he has been “in the Cullman County jail for over three years and would not take a plea deal for something he did not do.”

Thursby was charged with murder by strangulation or suffocation and first-degree theft of property. She paid an assigned $45,000 cash bond and was released pending trial. The court postponed a June 14, 2021 trial date and scheduled a hearing on July 30, 2021.

Kayla Thursby (Photo courtesy of Cullman County Sheriff’s Office)

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W.C. Mann