Convicted cop killer to spend life in prison for shooting teenager

Convicted cop killer to spend life in prison for shooting teenager
Timothy McKinney (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Timothy McKinney (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A convicted cop killer was sentenced to life without parole plus 10 years for shooting a 14-year-old boy.

Timothy McKinney sat quietly at his sentencing on Friday as he learned his fate. With arms crossed, showing no emotion, he learned he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. This time, with no chance of getting out.

McKinney was convicted of killing Memphis police officer Don Williams in 1997. Though he was originally sentenced to first-degree murder and sentenced to death, he was later awarded a new trial. After two retrials resulted in hung juries, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May 2013 and was sentenced to time served. He was released at that time.

Less than a year later in January 2014, he was involved in a shootout in the North Memphis Market on Vollintine Avenue. During the incident, 14-year-old Wanya Phillips got caught in the cross fire and was shot in the leg. He was critically injured.

McKinney was found guilty of attempted second-degree murder and reckless endangerment in January 2016.

Officer Williams was Vince Higgins' cousin. Higgins, who works for the district attorney's office, said his family is pleased with the sentencing.

"Nothing can bring Don back, but we're satisfied that Mr. McKinney will not be released from prison at anytime," Higgins said.

McKinney's lawyers argued that he had the gun for protection and never intended to shoot the teenager.

His family and friends believe the punishment was too harsh for McKinney.

"I don't think he should have got that much time," McKinney's friend, Bridget Goree, said.

However, the victim's family disagrees and believes McKinney got what he deserves.

Phillips, the teenager that McKinney is convicted of shooting in the store, is now 16-years-old and is recovering.

His mother said she wants justice for her son, and that means McKinney needs to spend a lengthy prison sentence.

"I do want him to go to jail for a very long time," Phillips mother, Shavonda Smith, said.

Smith said her prayers have been answered and McKinney is now going away for the rest of his life.

McKinney's lawyer said the sentencing was expected, given his past record.

"Not a lot of surprises. We knew this was a three strikes and you're out matter," Marty McAfee, McKinney's attorney, said.

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