Suspects arrested in killing store owner

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Police arrested and charged three suspects in the killing of owner Kent Smith and robbing Beverage Center on Winchester Road Sunday morning.

Ernest Butler was charged with first degree murder in perpetration of a felony and aggravated robbery.

Autry Butler and Reginald Mall were also charged with accessory after the fact and first degree murder.

Early Saturday morning family and friends stood by as Memphis homicide detectives pieced together what happened at the Beverage Center on Winchester Road.

Friends say, Saturday morning someone tried to rob the owner, Kent Smith.

During the armed robbery, someone shot and killed Smith.

“I'm just in shock, I want to cry,” said Freda Bennett, who works at a shop nearby.

The person took off in a gold Mercury Marquis, but not before Smith fired back and hit the man.

Police say the car was ditched and a short time later, a man fitting the suspect description, showed up with a gunshot wound at an Olive Branch fire station.

He is being treated and will be taken into custody.

“Mr. Kent he's so sweet. It's just unbelievable that anybody would want to do any harm to them,” said Bennett.

Smith was known to many as not the just the man who owned the store for thirty years.

Neighbors say he always looked out for neighboring families and often fed the homeless who hung out in the area.

“Everybody in this shop, we know each other it’s like a family,” said Bennett.

For Bennett, the loss of a family member is just too unreal to comprehend.

“I just don't have any words,” said Bennett.


    • Samantha Coleman

      Yes Ken was a good man he loved everyone who walk in to the store. He told me to hold my head up life is too short.


    You people with the silly negative comments are just as much the problem in Memphis as the ones you call “Obama’s” sons. In fact, it seems you enjoy the opportunities to respond to these stories. Insults and name calling doesn’t solve problems. It just does more damage to Memphis’ reputation. I’m so glad I’m not weighted down with the ‘us against’ them attitude so many people here can’t get over.

    • Just Saying, too

      You’re correct. They are just trolls and there are only a few. They use multiple screen names to spread the hate, but they don’t realize that other whites, especially those that are not from here, think they are nothing more than country hillbillies.


        Thanks Just Saying Too, I see the same few names scattered only on the posts that they can spread their racial views…other posts they mainly ignore. I do know there are plenty of positive people here too though. May God stregnthen this victim’s family and friends.


        LUVBREAMFISHIN, they are bringing Memphis down just like the ‘Blacks’ who committed the crime. Evil has no color, it just shows itself differently.

      • TPA

        @atjohnson: ummm WRONG!! these are COMMENTS and that doesn’t bring down at thing,,especially if the comments are RIGHT,,those three ANIMALS KILLED SOMEONE,,that brings a city down,,I have never seen or heard where words will kill you,,but then again you are grasping at anything you can.


        TPA…Fisrt of all I didn’t say all THESE comments, I was speaking of hateful comments. And yes words do kill…the bible confirms the fact that word kill, read the book of James. I’m not ‘reaching’ for anything. I’m not biased, I’m just stating a FACT. Those murders are evil, and people who make mean spirited comments are evil. They are too ignorant to protest without insults. I’m not defending any group of people….God Bless you.

  • tvnutt

    I just heard about this from a relative. My thoughts are with his family. I did not know this man but one of his daughters in law is my husbands cousin. She and her husband have a beautiful toddler daughter who has now been robbed of a grandfather.


    I don’t comment much on line about anything and I am a white, 65 year old, female, republican, but I do respect one thing, that this is NOT how MLK or OUR present President of the “United” States would want “Americans” to treat one another. The grudges against each other in America has to STOP today!!! If we must fight, let it be to keep OUR COUNTRY FREE AND “OUR” NATION SAFE before we are to live under another nation’s rule! Get your heart and mind on what is RIGHT and what is WRONG! You are just creating MORE anger among ourselves and hurting loved ones on BOTH sides of families!

  • Curiosity

    Does WREG know more about the sequence of events that led up to him being show? Who shot first, etc?

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