Edwards murder

Christian Sherrill, Darrell Owens and Willie Lee Somerville have been sentenced in the January 2017 murder of Timothy Edwards.

Three Tipton County men were sentenced yesterday in a Memphis court for their roles in a 2017 home invasion murder in Covington and two others pled guilty for their roles in the attempted robbery resulting in death. 

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the sentences.

According to information presented in court, on Jan. 19, 2017, Willie Somerville, 21, Armoni Hall, 21, Eddie Poindexter, 21, Christian Sherrill, 24, and Darrell Owens, 32, participated in the robbery of Timothy Edwards at his home located at 1229 Douglas St. in Covington. They planned to rob him of drugs and drug proceeds. 

Somerville was armed with a nine millimeter pistol and Hall with a 12-guage shotgun. Somerville, Hall and Poindexter went to Edwards’ residence and kicked in the door, while Sherrill and Owens waited nearby in a getaway car. As Hall entered Edwards’ residence, Edwards grabbed him and they struggled over the shotgun. Somerville opened fire with the pistol, killing Edwards and seriously injuring Hall. Edwards’ wife was in the back of the house and called 911. By the time police arrived a few minutes later, Edwards was already dead. Hall was found lying in the street a block away with gunshot injuries.

On Dec. 19, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted the five men for robbery affecting interstate commerce; possession, use and discharge of firearms during a crime of violence; and use of a firearm to cause the death of Timothy Edwards. 

On March 5, 2019, after a week-long trial, the jury convicted Somerville of all counts, and Poindexter and  Sherrill were convicted of the robbery and use of the firearm during the robbery. Hall previously pled guilty to all counts. 

On April 2, 2019, Hall was sentenced to 190 months along with three years of supervised release. Owens previously pled guilty to the robbery and firearms offenses. 

On March 27, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman sentenced Owens to 96 months followed by three years supervised release.

At sentencing, the court determined that all five defendants had prior adult criminal convictions and/or juvenile delinquent histories. Further, the court found that Somerville was a member and leader in the Kitchen Crips street gang, and that Hall, Poindexter and Owens were also members of the Kitchen Crips gang in Covington. 

During the sentencing hearing for Somerville, Timothy Edwards’ wife, Katrice Edwards, made a statement to the court calling Somerville an “evil monster” who had no remorse for what he had done, and that Somerville is a “natural born killer” who changed her life forever and who needs to spend the rest of his life behind bars. 

The court also found that after his arrest and trial, Somerville continued to threaten and intimidate cooperating witnesses who gave information and testimony against him.

Lipman sentenced Somerville yesterday to life imprisonment plus 10 years. Poindexter was sentenced to 330 months imprisonment and four years supervised release. Sherrill was sentenced to 330 months imprisonment and four years supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

Dunavant said, “Willie Somerville and his fellow Kitchen Crips gang members have terrorized Covington and Tipton County for years with their brazen violence, robbery crews, trigger-pullers and general lawlessness. The violent nature of these offenders’ criminal acts underscores the serious threat that this group posed to the community as a whole. Somerville sowed the destructive winds of gang violence, and he shall now reap the whirlwind of a life sentence. The four other members of his crew had no regard for human life and no respect for the law, and will now be removed from the Covington community for decades. We commend the outstanding investigative work by our law enforcement partners, and we are pleased that justice has been achieved for the Edwards family.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Covington Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Pritchard and Elizabeth Rogers prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Jeff Ireland is The Leader's sports editor. To contact him, call 901-476-7116 or email jireland@covingtonleader.com.​

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