MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Old murder cases are getting a new look all because of the coronavirus.
Shelby County prosecutors are using the opportunity to review cold cases.
District Attorney General Amy Weirich says her staff usually touches about 15,000 cases a month, but that has all changed since the Tennessee Supreme court has ordered that they only handle in-custody defendants.
Weirich and her team are taking on old homicide cases that have stumped detectives for years.
“We doled out the files to anybody who wanted to help. I took three the first week,” said Weirich.
Weirich says it’s definitely quieter around 201 Poplar these days.
The typical hustle and bustle of courts has slowed to a snail’s pace.
“We’ve got a little time on our hands now because of COVID-19 and because of change of pace and we thought it would be a great opportunity to help out and hopefully bring some offenders to justice,” said Weirich.
Weirich says her office is taking another look at close to 200 cold cases.
Most of the cases range from 2013 to 2017.
Weirich would not say just yet which cases are being reviewed, but one father is hopeful that his son’s case will get a second look.
Reginald Johnson’s 21-year-old son, Samuel Johnson, was killed in Frayser on Halloween in 2014.
“I hear a lot of people say time heals wounds, but I tell you this there’s a wound I’m waiting to get healed,” said Johnson.
Johnson says his son was going to the gym just before he was captured on home surveillance video.
He would never be seen alive again.
“But I just hope people will come forward and say something to not only my son’s case, but all these unsolved homicide cases,” said Johnson.
New leads or follow-up questions will be handled by the DA’s Criminal Investigation Unit.
However, time is not on the prosecutors side.
As the years pass, so do people’s memories and evidence.
Johnson says six years later, he still regularly calls Memphis police for updates on his son’s case. It’s never good news.
But Johnson says his grandson gives him hope.
His grandson never got a chance to meet his father.
“This is what inspire me to keep going because if you look at him he look so much like his daddy. This what keep me fighting,” said Johnson.
If you have any information, call Memphis Police.