Two years after Zodiac Park killing, families say wrong person in jail

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two families are banding together to press for answers nearly two years after a teenage girl was gunned down in Whitehaven’s Zodiac Park.

Police say shortly after 16-year-old Alana Tello was killed, 17-year-old Marcus Malone reportedly confessed, was arrested and charged with murder.

But the mothers of both Malone and Tello aren’t buying the confession, and say more arrests should have been made by now.

“He’s not the guy, he’s not the right person,” said Phoebe Malone. Her son Marcus has been in jail for almost two years, charged with Tello’s murder.

“He’s told me several times ‘Mama I’m innocent’ and I stand with him.”

His bond is set at $2 million — a price this mother can’t afford to pay.

“He was at work at 7 o’ clock. He got off work at 7. He couldn’t have conspired all this stuff,” she said.

Tello’s family agrees. They also don`t think he’s the killer.

“It’s not Marcus to me. I know that he was there,” said Christy Tello, Alana Tello’s mother. “My focus has not even been on Marcus. It had
nothing to do with him.”

Tello said Malone had no ties to her daughter and she thinks someone else set up the whole thing up to hurt her daughter and friends, possibly stemming from a prior beef.

“Why has nobody but Marcus been charged?” she asked.

She thinks Malone, who was 17 at the time with a clean record, is taking the fall for others and she`s not sure why he is willing to take full responsibility.

“They can easily take the youngest guy and threaten him until he takes the blame for all of it,” she said.

At this point the family is thinking about getting an attorney to do their own digging.

“Maybe someone will take it pro bono to figure out what happened, what went down and why others aren’t charged.”

As the anniversary of that grim evening in Zodiac Park draws closer, those close to the victim say they want to know what really happened that November evening, and they want the right people to pay the price.

“Here we are almost two years later and we still have so many questions,” said Tello’s best friend Seth Bonetti. “Seems there’s no effort being made.”


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