The past seven days have shown just how crime-ridden Memphis can be. Heres a wrap-up of some of the more violent cases:
* Admitted Gangster Disciple Marquez Lowdown Winters was convicted in Judge W. Fred Axleys courtroom last Friday for aggravated kidnapping and attempted murder in the first degree. The trial lasted two days, with dramatic testimony from Natalie Bolton, another gang member who had offended Winters girlfriend, who acts as a sort of Gangster Disciple governess.
Winters and other gang members snatched Bolton from her Whitehaven apartment in May 1997. Bolton was then taken to a house nearby, beaten, and then cut with a broken glass when she refused to drink a mixture of bleach and ammonia. The gang then put Bolton in the trunk of a car and drove to Rose Hill Cemetery on Elvis Presley Blvd., where they marched Bolton up a hill at gunpoint and shot her. Bolton feigned death and heard the members saying, Yeah, she dead as they walked away.
During her time on the stand, Bolton identified Winters as the man who tried to killed her. Used to seeing him thugged out in baggy clothes and gang colors, Bolton stared at Winters dressed in a suit, paused for a moment, and said, Thats him, but it dont look like him. Ive never seen him in a suit. Winters could face 37 years in prison. He will be sentenced on January 9th.
* In another criminal court decision Friday, Perdido Cook was found guilty on three counts of aggravated -- meaning he had a weapon -- burglary. Cook and co-defendant Henry Johnson wore masks when they entered the Memphis home of Sara Collier in 1999. The burglars struggled with Collier and another person at the home, David Shorter, who was shot in the back and remains permanently paralyzed from the waist down. The defendants will be sentenced January 5th and could receive 12 years in prison.
* Other shootings came to trial last week. William Garrett was pronounced guilty for shooting Carlis Parker in the elbow when he showed up at the victims home, pointed a cocked gun in Parkers face, and demanded a $20 debt that Parker owed Garrett. Parker has lost the use of his arm. Garrett will be sentenced January 12th and is looking at up to 15 years behind bars. Last Wednesday, the district attorneys office won another case -- against Joe Scott, who had robbed April Herd at gunpoint. Both had known each other for years.
* Another corrupt Memphis cop was outed last week. Officer John Edmiston was indicted on 29 separate counts Friday involving 11 Hispanic victims whom he was assigned to serve and protect in the West Precinct. Those charges include five counts of robbery, nine counts of extortion, 11 counts of official oppression, three counts of misconduct, and one count of sexual battery stemming from accusations involving a Hispanic woman.
As is the policy of the Memphis Police Department, Edmiston was relieved with pay until an administrative hearing can be held to weigh the department charges of misconduct. He turned himself into authorities on Friday, but was released on $10,000 bond.
* Though it received little play in The Commercial Appeal, published on the last page of the Metro section next to the obituaries, a story about children staying for days in their home with the body of a dead parent sounded similar to an incident that happened last year in Memphis. In December 1999, a friend found 10-year-old Travis Butler in a Memphis apartment with the body of his mother, Crystal Wells, who had died of natural causes. The boy told authorities he was afraid to let anyone know his mother was dead because he didnt want to be put in a foster home. Travis lived for a month with the body, preparing his own meals, taking the bus to school, and living off money left in the house.
Sunday evening, authorities found three children, ages 5, 3, and 2 in their South Memphis home with the body of their 27-year-old diabetic mother Sybil Powell. Its unclear how long the children, who are now with relatives, were in the house.
* Hip-hop night spot Club 2001 has experienced few altercations in the year its been open. But early Monday night, a shooting that resulted in the death of one young man has darkened the clubs clean reputation.
Another teen was seriously wounded when, at 2:30 a.m., 23-year-old Lorenzo Taylor was shot as he sat inside the club. A security guard was wounded, but the wounded teens name is not being released.