Lawyer explains Harbor Town murder charges

Susan Grissom (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Susan Grissom (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The murder of a mother and wife in Harbor Town has been the number one story on our website for the past week.

A man is now charged in her murder, and we wanted to dig deeper into his charges and what they can tell us about the timeline of the crime.

WMC Action News 5 spoke with a lawyer about how the charges work, and what they can tell us about what happened in this crime that Memphis police haven't released many details about.

Kurtrell Williams, 21, could face life in prison in connection with the murder of Susan Grissom.

He faces charges of first-degree murder, especially aggravated burglary, especially aggravated robbery, and two counts of perpetration of a felony.

"You break into someone's home because you want to steal something from them, that's burglary," said criminal defense attorney Blake Ballin.

Ballin said any time a person is charged with first-degree murder the prosecution must prove that the crime was either premeditated or was committed in perpetration with another dangerous felony.

"He has admitted that he killed this poor woman," Ballin said. "The issue is whether its premeditated has not been established yet."

In Williams' case, both especially aggravated burglary and especially aggravated robbery are felonies which, Ballin said, allows the prosecution to go after life in prison, even if they can't prove the crime was premeditated.

"If they can't prove that he committed this murder in a premeditated fashion, one of the fallbacks to get him to spend life in prison would be murder in perpetration with other felonies," Ballin said.

The affidavit says Williams admitted to shooting Grissom, but Ballin said it's still important that the legal process goes slow and Williams receives a fair trial.

"He has been charged with and admitted to doing some very bad things, but he should have his day in court and only be convicted of things he actually did," Ballin said.

Williams could face life in prison for the first-degree murder charge and between 15-25 years for both the burglary and robbery charges.

He is set to go back before a judge on Nov. 20.

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