2011 murder conviction overturned

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A 2011 murder conviction that involved Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich was overturned, but she said the decision had nothing to do with her or her work.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the murder conviction of Joshua Hunter Bargery, who was indicted in Lake County in 2011 for the murders of Clarence and Sue Shell.

According to Weirich, the decision to overturn the conviction was based on five reasons, only one of which involved her.

"Three of those reasons were errors made by the trial judge," she said. "One of the reasons was a mistake made by the prosecutor handling the case."

Weirich said she was, and still is, chairwoman of the multi-agency gang unit, which works to remove gang crime from the community.

"I got a phone call from the district attorney who was trying this murder on Lake County and the DA said to me, 'Do you know this officer,'" Weirich said.

The officer worked for Memphis Police Department and was also member of the multi-agency gang unit.

"Well, he's listed as a witness for the defense as an expert witness, which to me means he's probably going to be getting paid for that testimony," she added.

Weirich was asked to let then-MPD Director Toney Armstrong know--which she did.

"In their opinion, I don't know, I wasn't supposed to make that phone call," she explained.

DA Weirich wants to remind the public that of the more than 200,000 cases her office touches every year, 147 of those have been reversed since 1990.

"Most of those reversals are errors made by the judge, a juror, or a deputy," she added. "The smallest number of reversals is because of something done by this office."

In 2014, the high-profile murder conviction of Noura Jackson was overturned. It was a case that Amy Weirich tried. In 2015, Jackson and her attorneys accepted a plea agreement of voluntary manslaughter and she was released from prison.

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