MEMPHIS, Tenn — The teenagers charged with carjacking and killing of a Memphis pastor could be tried as adults, according to Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.
Memphis Police have said that two 15-year-olds and a 20-year-old have been charged with the death of Pastor Autura Eason-Williams.
The two 15-year-olds could now face adult charges.
“This is due to the serious nature of the crimes they are alleged to have committed and also their past history in juvenile court,” Amy Weirich said.
One of the 15-year-olds charged has a criminal history and has been in rehab centers.
“We have tried the options. They didn’t work and now we have lost a very valuable member of our community,” Amy Weirich said.
Some family members of Pastor Eason-Williams are against trying the teens as adults.
“If we decide to throw them away, we are not doing anything about the actual problem, if we are going to use this for anything use it as an opportunity to address the real issue,” said Ayanna Hampton, daughter of pastor Eason-Williams.
In a statement, Weirich responded to Hampton’s desire for the teens to not be tried as adults, saying:
“I absolutely agree with the children who spoke today and we do need more community involvement and intervention in the lives of our youth and that is the best way to honor the legacy of Rev. Autura Eason Williams. However, the young men accused of killing Rev. Eason Williams have been in the juvenile system before and are a danger and threat to the safety of our citizens and I will pursue trying them in adult court. Like in most families, there are differences of opinions. This is one of those cases. I must weigh all of their wishes but most important is the safety of our community and citizens.”Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich
Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said that the goal is to ensure teens aren’t involved in these types of crimes in the first place.
“The last thing we want to do is put children in jail. But even worse than that. I don’t want to see another family hurt,” CJ Davis said.
No decision has been made on whether the two 15-year-olds will be tried as adults.