Activists question if police arrested right suspects in Phil Trenary’s murder

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Within about 12 hours of Phil Trenary's murder in downtown Memphis last Thursday night Memphis Police were in hot pursuit of suspects who are believed to have been connected to the shooting.

Hours later, three suspects were charged with murder.

"It's in the area that we stay in. That's real, that's scary," south Memphis resident Angie Hunter said.

In their initial search, police told the public they were looking for a white Ford F-150 that was seen leaving the shooting. They tracked the suspected vehicle Friday morning.

They chased it through south Memphis before catching the suspects after a fiery crash.

At first, police say the suspects had dreads. The three people they later arrested didn't have dreads.

"We haven't seen any real concrete material given to whoever the African-American with dreads is or was," Pastor Earl Fisher said.

Pastor Fisher wants justice for Phil Trenary, but he also wants to make sure those arrested are truly the right ones.

Police also said early on that robbery didn't appear to be a motive. But now all of the suspects are charged with first-degree murder in perpetration of attempted robbery.

"I haven't heard anything that confirms that any items were stolen," Pastor Fisher said. "I don't think there is anything in the affidavit that directly confirms that these young individuals were involved in the killing. I think a lot of its is circumstantial evidence. We know justice is built on something a lot stronger than circumstantial evidence,"

WREG was the only television network in Juvenile Court on Monday for the detention hearing of 16-year-old Racanisha Wright, who police say was involved in the shooting.

Her attorney said there was no indication that she took part. But police say she and the other suspects all confessed and waived their Miranda Rights. They reportedly told police they were driving around looking for someone to rob.

"The affidavit said Miranda Rights were waived and you are talking about teenagers who may not have understood what those rights are," her attorney said. "We hear a lot of conversation about due process. We don't seem to see the same caution being taken in bringing the killer or killers of Phil Trenary to justice."

We asked Memphis Police about the discrepancies in the case.

They said in any investigation the descriptions originally released are preliminary based on information gathered during witness interviews. And the arrests of the suspects were not based on hair style.

They also say they have a lot of evidence they can't discuss since the case in pending.

Meanwhile, the 16-year-old charged will remain in Juvenile Court custody. She has a hearing on October 11.

Prosecutors are considering trying to move her case to Adult Court at 201 Poplar. The other two suspects are back in court on Tuesday.