MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Family and friends gathered on Tuesday to remember Reverend Autura Eason-Williams.
A viewing was held in West Memphis for the minister carjacked and murdered in her Whitehaven driveway on July 18.
District Attorney Amy Weirich has said she wants to try the two teens charged with Eason-Williams’s death as adults.
Members of the United Methodist Church clergy met Tuesday to protest that possible decision.
“We seek justice and -- not but; and -- we love mercy,” Rev. Rosalyn Nichols, the pastor of Freedom’s Chapel Christian Center, said.
The people who knew Rev. Dr. Eason-Williams describe her as a community leader with a passion for life and for others.
“She was a breath of fresh air. She was a person willing to speak truth to power. And you can see by her legacy that she sewed into others,” Nichols said.
Rev. Eason-Williams died after being shot multiple times during a carjacking in Whitehaven on July 18.
Two 15-year-olds and a 20-year-old are charged with her murder.
While the two teenagers are in juvenile court for now, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich wants to have them tried as adults.
“Children are not at law adults, and punishment alone is not justice,” Rev. Thomas M. Fuerst, the pastor of Bluff City Church, said.
“We need to have a conversation. We need to begin to start talking about redemption and restoration instead of just punishment,” Rev. Andre E. Johnson, the pastor of Gifts of Life Ministries, said.
They say they want justice to be served, but in a way that will help troubled youth from committing future crimes.
“We want people to be held accountable for what they do. We just know we can control the narrative of what accountability looks like, and for us, it’s restorative,” Rev. Nichols said.
Meanwhile, the late pastor’s husband, Darrell Eason-Williams, told FOX13 last week he wants the teens charged to do adult time.
“I want them all locked up. I do not want them out on the streets,” Eason-Williams said. “My wife did not agree with murder and rape. Those were the two things she did not stand for.”
The clergy members said they wrote a letter to the D.A. last week asking her to take their request of not having the teens charged as adults into consideration. So far, they have not heard back.
They’re also calling on the community to use their voice and to vote in Thursday’s election if they want to see a change in the justice system.
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