THE parents of Lacey Ellen Fletcher – the inmate who was found dead in the living room covered in feces, maggots and ulcers – say they suffered their own ‘heartbreak’.
In a statement through their attorney, Sheila and Clay Fletcher said they did not want to “relieve the pain of losing a child through the media.”
Lacey Fletcher, 36, was found Jan. 3 in a crater sunk in the living room sofa inside the family home in Slaughter, Louisiana. His parents could face possible murder charges.
When found, the woman weighed just 96 pounds, had suffered from bacterial infections and tested positive for Covid-19.
“They’ve been through a lot of heartache over the years,” Fletchers attorney Steven Moore said. “Anyone who has lost a child knows what it is.”
According to District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla, it’s unclear when Fletcher was last off the couch. He said her guards let her sit on the couch even while urinating and using the bathroom.
“It was so awful,” he told The Advocate.
D’Aquilla plans to ask a grand jury next week to bring second-degree murder charges against the Fletchers, arguing that their daughter suffered prolonged neglect, possibly for years before she was found dead.
In the state, a second-degree murder charge carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.
The woman’s death was ruled a homicide by East Feliciana Parish Coroner Dr. Ewell Bickham III and called for an inquest.
“His cause of death stemmed from at least a decade of medical negligence,” he told WFAB.
Sheila Fletcher, 64, worked as a police officer and clerk and most recently as an assistant city attorney in Zachary, according to her LinkedIn.
She served as a member of the city’s council of aldermen before stepping down three weeks after her daughter’s death on January 24.
Clay Fletcher is an officer with the nonprofit Baton Rouge Civil War, according to documents filed by the companies. The organization’s mission is “to educate and foster an appreciation for the sacrifices made during the Civil War.”
The Fletchers are due in court on May 2, where a jury will decide whether charges will be brought against them.
In addition to second-degree murder, the Fletchers could also be charged with manslaughter, cruelty to the infirm or negligent homicide, D’Aquilla told WAFB.
D’Aquilla said it was unclear whether anyone other than Lacey’s parents had seen her in the years before her death.
Lacey Fletcher suffered from a disability, her parents said in an interview with detectives on January 18.
Lacey has been home-schooled since she was in high school and experienced severe social anxiety as a teenager, her parents said.
The Fletchers also said their daughter refused to leave the living room couch.
They claim to have brought Lacey her meals, even saying she would urinate and defecate in towels or on the floor, as she was afraid to leave the couch.
The Fletchers also claim that Lacey hasn’t seen a doctor in 10 years because she hasn’t been sick.
D’Aquilla says the couple claimed Lacey was “sane to make her own kind of decisions.” Sheila Fletcher even claims to have regularly cleaned her daughter’s wounds.
But D’Aquilla believes there is a message to be learned here.
“They lost a daughter. I have – not a lot – but I have a little compassion for them,” he said.
“But I think we have to send a message. You must take better care of your people than your animals. I just want people to recognize that if you have a situation like this, you need to take action.
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