15-year-old charged wore ankle monitor at time of pastor’s murder

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 2:46 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The teenager charged with killing a Memphis pastor on Monday, July 18, was out on probation and wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the murder.

Police records show that 15-year-old Miguel Andrade had prior charges before killing Rev. Dr. Autura Eason-Williams. He completed one of the court’s most successful rehabilitation programs on May 31, only to wind up charged with first-degree murder six weeks later.

Court records show Andrade was charged on November 22, 2021, with unlawful possession of a weapon. Less than a month later, on December 7, 2021, he was charged with three counts of carjacking and three counts of possession of a firearm during a felony act.

In March of this year, both complaints were heard and adjudicated.

During his time with Juvenile Court, Andrade took a Ceasefire Gun Safety course and completed Community Service—a no-contact order. He was also referred to Evaluation and Referral, Restitution Reserved, and the Youth Services Bureau—for which he is still on active probation.

Memphis offers one of two Ceasefire Gun Safety courses in the country. It’s a two-hour evening class. Participants and their parents talk with representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Tennessee Department of Corrections, Memphis Police officers, Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and probation officers.

The kids then submit a “life plan,” a written report detailing how they’ll stay away from guns and keep out of trouble. It’s the type of program Pastor Autura Eason-Williams pushed for so passionately in her ministry before she was murdered during a carjacking in her driveway.

”Her strongest advocation was for young people. She fought for young people. It was so important that young people have a chance,” said retired MPD Lt. Colonel James Kirkwood, who worked closely with Pastor Eason-Williams when he was in charge of the Hickory Hill precinct. Her church, Capleville Methodist, is in that community.

Andrade, who faces a first-degree murder charge in the pastor’s death, was wearing an ankle bracelet at the time of the killing.

Juvenile court officials said he was on “intensive probation” after taking a plea deal for the armed carjacking in December. Authorities say he followed a woman home from the store and stole her car at gunpoint. Prosecutors offered the plea deal after the victim failed to appear in court.

Regular probation requires the offender to check in by phone. Intensive probation means a probation officer checked on Andrade at home and visited his school to make sure he was attending class.

He was also required to wear an ankle bracelet which was being monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

One juvenile court official said Andrade’s parents even came back to juvenile court when the battery on the ankle bracelet wouldn’t charge correctly. Andrade also completed community service and had been referred to counseling.

As for Memphis’ Ceasefire program, Stephanie White, the Administrator of Community Outreach and Information Activities, says it’s been a success since it started six years ago, with a recidivism rate below seven percent.

But in his weekly newsletter Friday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said:

“We need better laws and more effective intervention for juveniles and laws holding parents accountable for the criminal actions of their minor children. Enough is enough.”

Friends and loved ones of Eason-Williams agree, more must be done.

“We’ve got to create inspirational outreach that will target our young people, target the same ones the gangs are targeting,” Kirkwood said. “We can’t wait until tomorrow. We have to get together and strategize. We must begin to make a difference.”

There are 132 rooms on the second floor of juvenile court on Adams Avenue where young offenders are housed.

Currently, there are 68 detainees in custody, including Miguel Andrade.

The decision on whether to remand him to adult court, a request made by Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich this week, will be made by the juvenile court judge in late August or early September. It takes a few weeks for the request to get on the docket, and it’s likely Andrade’s attorney will request a psychiatric evaluation, which usually takes 30 days.

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