Roundup of criminal incidents and court news

The following news has been released about recent criminal incidents and court cases.

Inmate Dye reported as a ‘walk-off’


A female inmate at the Shelby County Division of Corrections was reported missing Saturday from her assigned work area near the corner of south Germantown and Winchester roads.

Cornetria Dye, 27, of Memphis is a minimum level 3 inmate and had been cleared to work on external worklines. When she couldn’t be located, she was classified as a walk-off. She was last seen wearing black pants, a white thermal long-sleeved top, white jacket and black shoes.

She is a black female with a medium complexion, brown eyes, brown/blonde hair, 5 foot 3 inches tall, weighing 150 lbs. She was serving a two-year sentence for abuse/neglect of a child under six years old. She arrived at the Division of Corrections on Jan. 28, and her projected release date was Jan. 23, 2021.

Court denies DNA test request by executed man’s estate

Judge Paula Skahan from the 30th Judicial District has released her decision in a post-conviction hearing request for DNA testing from the estate of Sedley Alley. Alley was executed in 2006, and his estate requested DNA testing.

On Nov. 18, the court ruled that his estate does not have standing to file a petition for DNA analysis under the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act, so the court doesn’t have subject matter jurisdiction to consider the petition. So the petition was dismissed. (“Standing” refers to whether a particular litigant is or is not entitled to have a court decide the merits of a dispute or of particular issues.)

The ruling notes that the court’s order shouldn’t be treated as a ruling on the merits of the claims raised in the petition.

A Shelby County jury convicted alley of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated rap for the 1985 beating, rape, sexual assault and murder of 19-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Suzanne Collins. His convictions and sentences withstood the appellate review process.

He lost his petitions for DNA testing in 2004 and 2006. This petition was filed by his daughter in April 2019.

Gunman sentenced in north Memphis murder

A gunman convicted last month of killing one acquaintance and critically injuring another in an assault-rifle attack in 2017 has been sentenced to life in prison plus 27 years, according to a Monday statement from Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich.

The victims each were shot more than 10 times while seated in a parked car in North Memphis.

On Friday, Criminal Court Judge James Lammey Jr. sentenced defendant Marcel Holbrook to life in prison for first-degree murder, 21 years without parole for attempted first-degree murder, and six years without parole for employing a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony.

Last month a jury convicted the 26-year-old Holbrook in the incident that occurred around 4 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2017, as Duncan Hardy, 54, and Anthony Edwards, 32, were sitting in a car in the 900 block of Alaska near Vollintine in North Memphis.

Witnesses said Holbrook pulled up in a black vehicle, stepped out and opened fire on the two men with an assault rifle. Hardy and Edwards both were hit by at least 10 shots, though Edwards was able to drive several blocks to his mother’s home.

Hardy was pronounced dead in the vehicle at that location, while Edwards’ mother drove him to a hospital in her car. The shooting was the result of an ongoing dispute involving the defendant and a relative of one of the victims, investigators said.

The case was handled by Assistant District Attorneys Stephanie Johnson and Ryan Thompson.

MPD lieutenant indicted on sex charges

An Arlington resident who works as a Memphis police lieutenant has been indicted on felony charges of rape and sexual battery by an authority figure involving the 15-year-old daughter of an acquaintance, according to Weirich on Friday.

Jeffrey Jones, 52, has been booked and is free on $75,000 bond.

According to the indictments, sometime between December 2018 and May 2019 Jones sexually penetrated the girl without her consent in a home in Arlington.

The case is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Devon Dennis of the DA’s Special Victims Unit, which prosecutes cases of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of child victims; rape and aggravated rape of adult victims, and abuse of the elderly and vulnerable adults. SVU reviews child-victim cases with Shelby County’s multi-agency Child Protection Investigative Team.

Fired worker convicted in Collierville killing

A fired worker at a Collierville company was convicted Friday of first-degree murder in the ambush shooting death of a colleague last year in the company parking lot, Weirich announced.

Termaine York, 22, was automatically sentenced to life in prison by Judge Bobby Carter following the Criminal Court jury’s verdict.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2018, the victim, Bruce Henderson, 50, was found shot to death in his vehicle on the parking lot at IPS Corporation on Industrial Park Lane in Collierville. The suspect, later identified as York, is seen on surveillance video coming out from behind a parked car and firing multiple times into the victim’s vehicle.

York was found less than an hour later walking nearby along Highway 57 and was taken into custody. Officers with a canine searched the area and found a 9mm pistol used in the shooting and clothing that matched the suspect on video, including a black hoodie, black gloves and a white mask with the defendant’s DNA on it.

York had been fired by the company the previous day for poor job performance and apparently blamed Henderson, even though he was not York’s supervisor.

The case was handled by Chief Prosecutor Chris Lareau and Assistant District Attorney Regan Murphy of the DA’s Vertical Team 3, which handles cases in General Sessions Division 11 and Criminal Court Division 3.

Businessman settles rape case with aggravated assault plea

Businessman Mark Giannini pled guilty on Nov. 14 to assaulting a 23-year-old woman in 2013 at his home in Eads, according to Weirich.

Giannini, 53, was placed on probation for four years after entering an Alford plea or best-interests plea in which a defendant maintains innocence but acknowledges the likelihood of conviction in trial. It has the same legal effect as a guilty plea.

Giannini originally was indicted on aggravated rape charges, but the case settled with a charge of aggravated assault with the approval of the victim, who did not want to go through a trial.

In October of 2013, the 23-year-old woman told authorities that she had gone to Giannini’s home for her first day of work after he had hired her to be his personal assistant and work from his home.

She said she worked from 10 a.m. to about 2 p.m. when she and Giannini had drinks and swam in his pool. When she was getting ready to leave, however, she said Giannini had removed his bathing suit and sexually assaulted her.

As part of the settlement, a 2002 rape case was dismissed with that victim’s approval, as was a pending bribery case. In 2017, Giannini pled guilty to felony drug charges and was placed on probation for four years and fined $2,000.

The case on Nov. 14 was handled by Chief Prosecutor Eric Christensen of the DA’s Special Victims Unit.

“We left the final decision with the victim,” said Christensen. “Given all the circumstances and the difficulty she would face at trial, including being cross examined, she felt that this was the best way to handle the case and that I agreed with her decision.”

Man convicted of murder, multiple other counts in Zodiac Park case

A 20-year-old man was convicted on Nov. 8 of second-degree murder and more than two dozen other felony counts for firing into a crowd of teens three years ago in Zodiac Park in Whitehaven, Weirich announced. He received 27 convictions in total.

A Criminal Court jury found Marcus Malone guilty of killing 16-year-old Alana Tello of Horn Lake, Miss., and wounding four others on Nov. 1, 2016, at the park where two groups of teens had gathered to settle a dispute from the previous evening.

Witnesses said Malone came out of the woods in the park and began to fight with one of the victims, but then pulled a gun and began shooting randomly at the crowd. He then got back in the car and drove off.

Tello was shot in the back of her neck and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Following a weeklong trial, Malone was convicted of second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, five counts of attempted second-degree murder, 12 counts of aggravated assault, seven counts of employment of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, and one count of reckless endangerment.

He remains in custody and will be sentenced Jan. 10 by Judge W. Mark Ward.

The case was handled by Asst. Dist. Attys. Carla Taylor and Austin Scofield of the DA’s Crime Strategies & Narcotics Prosecution Unit, which incorporates and expands the work of the Multi-Agency Gang Unit, the Organized Crime Unit, Project Safe Neighborhood/Gundone, GunStat, the Safe Streets Task Force and the Violent Crime Unit.

Man indicted in 2004 cold case rape

A 62-year-old Michigan man has been indicted for the rape of a young woman, an attack that occurred in 2004 in the Orange Mound area of Memphis, Weirich announced on Nov. 8.

Ferlin Scott, who is being held on $150,000 bond, was indicted on aggravated rape. The former Memphian, whose last known address was in Detroit, was taken into custody the previous week.

Investigators said that on Aug. 14, 2004, the young woman was walking in the area of Park Avenue and Maxey Street when she was abducted and driven to a warehouse area near Tchulahoma and Winchester.

The suspect allegedly threatened her with a pocketknife, raped her and drove her back to the area where he abducted her.

A sexual assault kit was preserved, and in 2014 evidence from the kit was tested. A DNA profile was developed and entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database. In 2015 the profile was found to match the DNA on file for Scott.

This summer the victim viewed a six-person photographic lineup and positively identified Scott as her assailant.

The case is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Dru Carpenter of the DA’s Special Victims Unit (SVU).

Father indicted in young son’s shooting death

A Memphis man was indicted Nov. 6 on reckless homicide charges related to the shooting death of his 8-year-old son by his 4-year-old daughter, who found his gun on the bed, Weirich announced.

Cordero Wilhite, 30, also was indicted on felony drug charges involving more than a pound of marijuana found in his home in the 1000 block of Parkland Road just west of the Sherwood Forest neighborhood. He is free on $50,000 bond.

Investigators said that on Aug. 20, 2017, Wilhite was in his bedroom when the two children came in and got on the bed with him. Wilhite told investigators he had a .45-cal. pistol and that he put it under the covers so his children would not see it.

Moments later, his daughter found and discharged the gun, striking her brother Deaundre Shannon in the chest, killing him.

The case is being handled by Assistant District Attorney Cavett Ostner of the DA’s Special Victims Unit.

Repeat sex offender sentenced to 30 years

A career criminal who also is on the Sex Offender Registry was sentenced on Nov. 5 to 30 years in prison with no parole for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl, Weirich said.

Defendant Tarvis Weatherly, 42, who was convicted in August of aggravated sexual battery, was sentenced by Criminal Court Judge Jennifer Mitchell.
According to trial testimony, the incident occurred on June 2, 2016, when the young girl was dropped off at a cousin’s home in the 2400 block of

Brooklyn Avenue. In the early morning hours while others were asleep, Weatherly began rubbing the child’s private areas in a bedroom.

Weatherly, the boyfriend of the homeowner, was convicted in 1997 on nine counts of aggravated robbery and one count of theft of property over $1,000. He also is a registered sex offender for convictions of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery of an adult victim.

The case was handled by Assistant District Attorneys Devon Dennis and Cavett Ostner of the DA’s Special Victims Unit (SVU).