17-year-old pleads guilty to 2013 murder of J.P. Shelley - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

17-year-old pleads guilty to 2013 murder of J.P. Shelley

J.P. Shelley (Source: Beverly Shelley) J.P. Shelley (Source: Beverly Shelley)
Derek Cunningham, Corey Sandifer, and Thomas Moss (Source: Shelby County Jail) Derek Cunningham, Corey Sandifer, and Thomas Moss (Source: Shelby County Jail)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

The 17-year-old charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of contractor J.P. Shelley in 2013 pleaded guilty to the crime.

Derek Cunningham Jr., pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a settlement approved by the judge.

"Our family is really satisfied with this because we were not looking forward to going to trial at all," said Shelley's widow Beverly Shelley. "Just going to 201 Poplar every day, worrying about my kids and what not, and hearing what we were going to hear in the courtroom."

J.P. Shelley was meeting with a construction worker at a house they were working on when they were confronted by two men, who robbed them of their cell phones, an iPad, cash, and wallets. Shelley was shot in the neck during the robbery.

Cunningham was 15-years-old at the time of the shooting.  Cunningham had been in and out of the juvenile system 15 times before the shooting.

Beverly Shelley said the tragedy of her husband's death helped her realize problems in the juvenile justice system.

"I hope to make a difference in the lives of other juvenile offenders so that maybe this type of tragedy can be prevented," Shelley explained. "So that  no other families like mine can be affected."

The other two people charged, Corey Sandifer and Thomas Moss, both 18, also face murder charges. 

Beverly Shelley issued the following statement after court on Friday:

“I’m so thankful that our family has been spared the horror and uncertainty of a trial. I truly appreciate the hard work and long hours put in by the prosecutors and the Memphis Police Department. I pray that I can honor JP’s life and our children by making a difference in the lives of juvenile offenders in Memphis.”  

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