Case of missing Iraq War vet from Cobb ends with conviction

Nearly five years after he first went missing, the legal system has spoken in the case of Chase Massner.

James Bradshaw Clement was sentenced Monday in the death of Iraq War veteran Massner, whose remains were found in 2017 behind a Kennesaw home where Clement used to live.

The 33-year-old was sentenced to eight years in prison and seven years on probation after pleading guilty to one count of concealing the death of another and one count of making a false statement, the Cobb district attorney’s office said in a news release.

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Jesse Evans, who prosecuted the case, read a statement from Massner’s mother in court Monday.

“Words cannot begin to explain the torment me and my family and Chase’s friends have been put through at the hands of Brad Clement.”

Massner, 26, was a married father of two working at QuikTrip in March 2014 when he went missing.

He and his wife were arguing, and she left him at a QT near Clement’s home on Farmbrook Lane.

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Massner’s wife reported him missing soon after she couldn’t get a hold of him.

Even though investigators believe Massner went over to Clement’s home, Clement denied knowing where the man was. Prosecutors said he “gave changing stories concerning the circumstances surrounding Massner’s purported disappearance.”

Clement moved out of the house several months later.

After receiving a tip, authorities sent cadaver dogs to the home in the summer of 2017. Using a backhoe, investigators found Massner’s skeletal remains wrapped plastic and secured by duct tape under a concrete slab beneath a deck on Aug. 1, 2017.

The remains were so decomposed — Massner was identified by dental records — that investigators couldn't determine a cause nor manner of death.

Though it isn't clear if drugs had a role in his death, an autopsy found methamphetamine and morphine in his system, according to the Cobb County Medical Examiner's office.

The report attributed the morphine in Massner’s system to the fact that he “had a known history of heroin abuse,” according to the report, because morphine is the primary metabolite of heroin.

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Clement was charged after the remains were found, and "insisted he was being set-up," prosecutors said. Still, he said he would turn himself into police. Instead, he went on the run.

After a week, Clement was arrested Aug. 10, 2017 facedown in the rain-drenched parking lot of a shopping center on North Druid Hills Road. He was indicted 2½ months later.

Clement pleaded guilty during a Monday court hearing. He was set to go to trial in January.

Before he was led from the courtroom, prosecutors said, Clement spoke to Massner’s family: “I’m very sorry for your loss.”

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