Following last week’s murder of the Rev. Autura Eason-Williams in Memphis, Tennessee, her family is speaking out about their loss and her legacy. In what police call a “heinous killing,” the Tennessee pastor was carjacked in her driveway and fatally shot on July 18, allegedly by two 15-year-old boys. Several other suspects also face charges related to the incident.
Speaking to a local TV station, an emotional Darrell Eason-Williams says, “I want you all to know: They took my best friend away from me, and I can never get her back.” He expressed support for trying the teen suspects as adults. Several other family members of the slain pastor disagree with that tactic, however, largely due to their mother’s beliefs.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich has requested the case be moved to adult court, but the decision is up to a juvenile court judge.
Husband of Slain Tennessee Pastor: Killing Was ‘No Regular Crime’
About the suspects, Darrell Eason-Williams says, “If they get out, they’ll have the rest of their lives with a free record. My wife can’t get her life back.” He adds, “You didn’t just take her car, you shot her numerous times, pulled her out, and left her for dead. That ain’t no regular crime.”
Eason-Williams says his wife would feel the same way. “My wife would not want these boys free out here on the streets,” he says. “I know that my wife would push for them to be transferred to prison. Now, she would want them to get help in prison, but she would not want these boys to be out there on the streets to harm anybody else.”
DA Weirich agrees, saying the crime wasn’t “a low-level offense” and both suspects had been “in the system” already. “If they stay in the juvenile court system, then at the age of 19, they are cut loose from the system. They are cut loose from any supervision that the court or any program might have over them. They are scot-free.”
Pastor Eason-Williams, a mother of four, was district superintendent for the Memphis Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She also was pastor of Capleville United Methodist Church in Memphis and active in the denomination and community, including several youth-related causes.
Others Say Tennessee Pastor Believed in Redemption
At a news conference held in conjunction with the NAACP this week, several of the pastor’s family members expressed disagreement with efforts to charge the suspects as adults, saying Pastor Eason-Williams was an advocate for youth.
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