Memphis criminal defense attorney says body not necessary for murder charges to stick

Published: Jul. 24, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Local Criminal Defense Attorney Blake Ballin says murder charges without a dead body, like the one 22-year-old Timothy Herrington is facing, are rare but not unheard of—it all comes down to evidence.

“Let your imagination do the trick,” Ballin said. “A bloody knife, shell casings, something found on a cell phone. Even a statement from the person saying they did it. All kinds of things the state could use to prove someone is dead, even though they don’t have the body.”

In the case Herrington is facing, the potential evidence that we know of is slim:

  • July 11: Oxford Police announced on social media that Jay Lee’s car was recovered from Molly Barr Trails, an apartment complex located less than three miles from the apartment Lee called home.
  • July 14: OPD posted they were waiting on results from “around a dozen search warrants” on “both physical and digital entities.”
  • July 19: OPD released a statement they had recently uncovered new video surveillance—they didn’t reveal where it was from or what was discovered.
  • July 22: OPD announced Herrington had been charged with the murder of Jimmy “Jay” Lee, but the search for Lee’s body was ongoing.

Ballin believes it could be an uphill battle for prosecutors to move forward without Lee’s body, but thinks there must be something substantial for investigators to have acted so quickly.

“Given the fact the authorities have chosen to charge this person with a homicide after only 3 weeks—there’s probably something more,” Ballin said.

The evidence is still unknown to the public—including Herrington’s attorney Carlos Moore, who told Action News 5 that he looks forward to getting answers when his client sees a judge for the first time this Wednesday.

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