Jerome Flanigan, 39 of Cullman, pled guilty to the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter (Class B Felony) in the death of Leslie Clements. In 2016, Flanigan was charged with murder by administering a controlled substance with alternate charges of murder by strangulation or suffocation and reckless manslaughter by administering a controlled substance, corpse abuse, arson, and first-degree theft of property.

On Tuesday, July 20, Flanigan pled guilty in front of Cullman County Circuit Court Judge Gregory Nicholas. Flanigan was accompanied by his attorney, Tommy Drake. Flanigan will serve a twenty-year split sentence. He will serve four years behind bars which he has already served roughly three and a half years, followed by five years of supervised probation. At any given time, Flanigan fails to cooperate or violates his probation, he will be forced to serve the remainder of the 20-year sentence.

Cullman County District Attorney released the following statement:


Cullman County District Attorney Wilson Blaylock announces that Jerome Flanigan has entered a plea of guilty to the charge of manslaughter for his role regarding the death of Leslie Clements.

“After discussing and reviewing the case with the victim’s family, it was determined that this plea would be the best course of action in obtaining justice for Leslie Clements,” said District Attorney Blaylock. “For the first time in nearly four years, Jerome Flanigan has finally admitted that it was his reckless actions that caused the death of Leslie Clements. We hope that this manslaughter conviction will bring closure to the family and friends of Leslie Clements.”

On September 16, 2016, the decomposed body of Leslie Clements was discovered at her apartment. After approximately two years of investigation, it was determined that Jerome Flanigan and Kayla Thursby were involved in the death of Leslie Clements. Both defendants were indicted by the Grand Jury of Cullman County in 2018. Today, Jerome Flanigan admitted that he recklessly caused the death of Leslie Clements on September 12, 2016, by providing drugs to Clements. Flanigan has been sentenced to 20 years split to serve four years followed by five years of supervised probation. Thursby will enter a plea and be sentenced on a later date.

District Attorney Blaylock further said, “I want to thank Investigator Max Bartlett and all others at the Cullman Police Department for their involvement in piecing this difficult case together.”

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney John Bryant, Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Cline, and Tracey Smith, Pre-Trial Coordinator, of the District Attorney’s Office.