MEMPHIS, Tenn.–The deadly carjacking of a Memphis pastor was a random attack, a witness said during suspect Eduard Rodriguez-Tabora’s court appearance Wednesday.
Rodriguez-Tabora, 21, is accused of taking part in a carjacking resulting in the death of Rev. Dr. Autura Eason-Williams in July.
One witness was Memphis Homicide Detective Sergeant Qadeer Smith who says Rodriguez-Tabora confessed to being at the scene along with two others. Sgt. Smith told the court that, according to Rodriguez-Tabora, the victim unknowingly became a target.
“They noticed the victim’s vehicle on the expressway and followed her home,” Smith said.
Another witness was a neighbor who says she saw the gunmen moving in before ambushing Eason-Williams.
“We pulled off and that’s when we heard the gunshots,” she said.
The witness said she heard about three or four shots fired.
Surveillance video capturing the attack from beginning to end was also presented in court, showing two men running up the driveway while one stays behind moments after Eason-Williams arrived home.
“They were attempting to get the victim out of the vehicle,” Smith said.
Shots were fired from the driver’s side by one of two teens also charged in the case. The video also shows the moment Eason-Williams is forced out of her car as the driver runs her over.
Assistant DA Edwards argued this was a brutal attack and asked the court for a $1 million bond.
Defense lawyer Robert Amann says his client should have a lower bond for several reasons.
“He didn’t plan the robbery, he didn’t take anything from the robbery. These are very concerning things about this case. I think the bond should have been lower,” Amann said.
Judge Massey said Rodriguez Tabora had a choice to run in the opposite direction but he chose to run up the driveway. For that, he is facing a hefty bond.
Assistant DA Forrest Edwards says the next step involves determining the appropriate charges to submit to a grand jury. He adds it’s unknown how quickly it will happen.