MEMPHIS, Tenn. — District Attorney Amy Weirich wants to charge two 15-year-olds accused of killing pastor Autura Eason-Williams as adults, but one of the pastor’s family members believes this case is a chance for them to change.
Speaking on her 31st birthday, the pastor’s oldest daughter Ayanna Hampton said that is not what her mother would have wanted.
“If I were to say throw ‘Those children under the jail. Charge them as adults, give them the death penalty or whatever,’ I would not have learned anything from my mother in 31 years,” Ayanna Hampton said.
Instead of being charged as adults, she believes the teenagers should go through the juvenile court system.
Hampton said she was told there would be more support for the teens in adult court and believes this case can give them a chance to change.
“I do not want us to miss the opportunity to envision the improvement that we can make to our juvenile justice system so that we are not convinced that we have to send children to adult prison for them to suffer the proper consequences that will fit their crime,” Hampton said.
Eason-William’s youngest son Terence Hampton believes his mother would have wanted to see the teens turn their lives around.
“I have been there as she worked with kids the same age as the kids that did this to her and she taught me the value of love, she taught me the value of community and helping those kids,” he said.
A third suspect is in custody for the deadly shooting of a Memphis pastor.
20-year-old Eduard Rodriguez Tabora is the first adult to be charged in this case. Police said security footage shows him and two teens following pastor Autura Eason-Williams into her driveway before she was shot and killed.
Rodriguez faces charges of first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, and employment of a firearm with the intent to commit a felony.
As far as the 20-year-old who was arrested Tuesday is concerned, Ayanna didn’t have much to say.
“I don’t have any problem with an adult being charged as an adult. My primary concern is children being tried as adults,” Ayanna Hampton said.
The family said they appreciate the quick work by Memphis Police in finding the people accused in their mother’s death.