‘Facts and circumstances’ compelled DA to seek death penalty against Ezekiel Kelly

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 6:13 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County’s District Attorney, who has been outspoken against the death penalty in the past, said there were several “aggravating factors” that contributed to this decision to seek the death penalty for the man accused of going on a deadly shooting rampage across the Memphis metropolitan area last September.

DA Steve Mulroy announced that his office is pursuing the death penalty against Ezekiel Kelly Monday morning.

Kelly is currently incarcerated at the Shelby County Jail, facing 28 charges for allegedly killing three people and injuring several others during a shooting that left the City of Memphis on lockdown on the night of Sept. 7, 2022.

“If this case isn’t death notice worthy, then no case is,” Mulroy said.

Mulroy said there were four aggravating factors:

  1. Kelly had a previous conviction for a violent crime.
  2. He, according to Mulroy, committed mass murder.
  3. The murders were committed in the course of an act of terrorism.
  4. The murders were committed at random and for reasons not obvious or easily understood.

“When the facts are sufficiently clear, either one way or another, then a district attorney acting in good faith sometimes has to come to the conclusion that the facts and circumstances compel a particular decision. I believe this is one of those times,” said Mulroy.

Shortly after the DA’s announcement, the group Just City took to social media, speaking out against the decision.

“Seeking the death penalty means embarking on a complex, decades-long effort to take yet another life,” the statement read in part. “Endless hearings and procedural maneuvers will delay accountability for those responsible and deny justice for victims and their families.”

Mulroy was questioned about potential concerns from voters who may have elected him because of his opposition to the death penalty.

He responded, “I think the people that voted for me understand that a DA has to follow the law, whether they agree with it or not.”

We’re told the DA’s Office has been in contact with the families of the victims and that they are all aware of the death penalty pursuance.

They reportedly “have no problem” with the decision.

Because of the number of victims and the complexity of the case, Mulroy said it could very well be six months, if not longer, before Kelly’s case goes to trial.

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