Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Memphis DA is opposed to the death penalty when he is not for it

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy announced his office's intent to seek the death penalty in the murder case against Ezekiel Kelly, who is accused of driving around Memphis and shooting people at random, reported the Commercial Appeal.

The announcement is the first time Mulroy has filed for the death penalty since he was elected to the office in August 2022. Mulroy has been a long-standing opponent of the death penalty.

"I've made no secret of my personal opposition to the death penalty as a public policy matter," Mulroy said at a Monday morning press conference. "Like I've said before, as a legislator, I'd vote against it. But I think that the people that voted for me understand that a DA has to follow the law, whether they agree with it or not... If this case isn't death notice worthy, then no case is."

Kelly, 19, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, along with 23 additional charges. The Sept. 7 shooting spree left three additional people injured.

Officials say Kelly started his shooting spree in the early hours of the day, when he allegedly shot and killed Dewayne "Sosa" Tunstall, a Memphis resident, before allegedly killing Allison Parker, a nurse in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Richard Clark, a 62-year-old who police say was shot as he sat in his car outside a gas station.

Mulroy said four factors affected the decision to pursue the death penalty. He cited a previous aggravated assault conviction, along with alleging Kelly committed "mass murder" during the spree. Mulroy also said the murders were "committed in the course of an act of terrorism," and his fourth factor was the randomness of the shooting.

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