DA’s office updates 3 cases of murder, manslaughter, sexual assault

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Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich announced a conviction in a 2017 abduction-rape-murder case, an indictment in one man’s death by auto and a hefty sentence for a convicted shooter.

Man convicted in abduction, rape and murder case

A 20-year-old man was convicted Friday, Jan. 24, on first-degree murder and other felony offenses for the abduction and assault of a couple in 2017 that began near New Willow Road and Cherry Road.

A Criminal Court jury convicted defendant Kevvon Clark of premeditated first-degree murder, murder in the perpetration of kidnapping, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape and aggravated robbery.

He will automatically receive sentences of life in prison for the murder convictions and will be sentenced on the other convictions on March 4 by Judge Paula Skahan.

The incident began on the afternoon of March 30, 2017, when Luis Santiago, 39, and his wife were robbed and abducted by Clark, then 17, and another man in the 4000 block of New Willow Road in southeast Memphis.

An investigation showed that while in the vehicle, Santiago’s pickup truck, Clark forced the woman to perform a sex act on his codefendant.

She managed to escape by jumping from the vehicle at Getwell Road and Winchester Road, where she flagged down a motorist who took her to the Raines Station Police Precinct.

Officers searched the area for her husband and his abductors, and the following day they found his body near his pickup truck in a remote area on Old Getwell Road not far from where his wife had escaped.

Luis Santiago’s hands were bound and he had been shot in the back of the head.

Clark’s codefendant, Jermarcus Thomas, 22, also faces charges for his role in the crime and is scheduled to be in court on Feb. 5.

The case was handled by Chief Prosecutor Eric Christensen and Asst. Dist. Atty. Dru Carpenter of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit (SVU), which prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims; rape and aggravated rape of adult victims; and abuse of elderly and vulnerable adults.

Woman indicted in boyfriend’s death by auto

A Whitehaven woman was indicted Thursday, Jan. 23, on second-degree murder charges following an incident last year in which she struck her boyfriend’s car and then struck him, pinning him against her house, according to Weirich.

Defendant Veneis Ford, 39, is being held at Shelby County Jail East on $500,000 bond.
The incident occurred shortly before 3 a.m. last Oct.16 at Ford’s home in the 3100 block of Beauchamp in Whitehaven where she and her boyfriend, Marlardotto “Syvile” Harris, 46, got into an argument in the driveway.

She told investigators that when she rolled down the window of her car, Harris grabbed her by the hair and pulled eight to 10 braids from her head.

Ford then drove forward, striking Harris’s vehicle and then struck him, pushing his body up against the front of the house.

Harris died of multiple blunt force injuries.

The case is being handled by Asst. Dist. Atty. Matthew Haywood of the District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit, which prosecutes felony cases of domestic assault and homicide committed by intimate partners. The Unit also works closely with the Shelby County Family Safety Center to provide services and assistance to victims and their families.

Convicted shooter of 2 sentenced to 67 years

A Parkway Village man convicted in December of killing one man and wounding another was sentenced Thursday, Jan. 23, to 67 years in prison.

Criminal Court Judge James Lammey Jr. sentenced 30-year-old defendant Brian Howard to consecutive terms of 15 years for voluntary manslaughter, 12 years for attempted voluntary manslaughter, 30 years for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and 10 years for employment of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony.

The state sentences must be served consecutive to a 15-year federal prison sentence he is serving for being a convicted felon with a firearm in an unrelated federal case.

The state case involves a shooting on July 20, 2017, in which 22-year-old Phillip Carr was killed in the front seat of a vehicle in the 4900 block of Judy Lynn Avenue near Clearbrook Street in Parkway Village.

A 20-year-old man also in the car was critically wounded by a gunshot to the back.
Investigators said the shooting apparently stemmed from an argument between Carr and Howard, whose girlfriend was Carr’s cousin. Carr returned the gunfire, but Howard was not hit.

Howard was identified as the shooter and was arrested five months later in Houston, Texas.
The case was handled by Asst. Dist. Attys. Stephanie Johnson and Justin Prescott.