Charges reduced in killing of Whitehaven activist; attorney claims self-defense

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 7:02 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Charges for the death of Whitehaven activist Dr. Yvonne Nelson were reduced on Monday by a Shelby County Judge.

Tifanee Wright’s charges of second-degree murder for killing Nelson on July 18 were reduced to voluntary manslaughter.

The previous charge of second-degree murder carries a mandatory 15 to 25 years behind bars — requiring 100 percent of the time served.

Wright’s new potential jail time would be between three to six years.

Lorna McCluskey, who is spearheading Wright’s defense, says video evidence from the shopping center where the incident happened shows her client was not the aggressor in the situation.

She says the video shows her client backing up from Nelson during the altercation.

The defense also says Wright fired warning shots at the ground before firing the round that killed the Whitehaven community activist.

She believes her client also acted in self-defense and expects the case will be dismissed once the trial is heard by a jury.

The date for that trial has not been set yet.

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