Teens Accused of Killing Contractor In Court

(Memphis) Three teenage boys accused of murdering a Collierville contractor stood before a juvenile court judge Wednesday morning.

No facts were discussed, since Wednesday was a preliminary hearing for the trial which starts next month.

“Quite frankly, it was to get the attorneys ready for trial,” said defense attorney James Sanders.

Attorneys went back and forth asking each other to share what they would bring up in trial, like identifying a key prosecution witness in the shooting death of contractor J.P. Shelley.

He was working on a house on Scottsdale in October when the three allegedly robbed him of an iPhone, iPad and some cash.

“Nothing good can be said about the whole situation. There’s been a loss of life, a loss of freedom. It has affected the victim’s families and the defendant`s families,” said Sanders.

James Sanders represents one of the accused murderers.

Wednesday in court he had to stop his teenage client from asking questions directly to the judge.

For the attorney, that shows just how the young three murder suspects are.

“Their behavior and reaction is typical of children’s behavior, confusion. They want to go home,” said Sanders.

We’ve learned 15-year-old Derek Cunningham, one of the accused, was already in the juvenile justice system as a sex offender.

The juvenile court says Cunningham’s criminal history will be considered by the judge when deciding whether to try him as an adult.

The trial starts December 4th.

The judge granted a competency evaluation for at least one of the suspects before the trial starts.

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