Judge upholds first degree murder charge against former firefighter

Frank Graham
Frank Graham

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis judge ruled Tuesday that the man accused of shooting his girlfriend in a hospital parking lot will face a first degree murder charge.

In court Tuesday, the testimony of three witnesses convinced the judge to uphold the first degree murder charge against former Memphis firefighter Frank Graham.

During the first portion of Tuesday's hearing, Bridgett Collins verified her sister's death, confirming she saw Delta Medical Center nurse Taffi Crawford in the coffin.

As Graham kept his eyes to the ground, and Crawford's family watched on, the judge then heard from Pete Mack, a witness to the shooting.

Mack said as he headed into his doctor's appointment, he heard a man holler, then a gunshot, and saw the gunman drive off in a white car.  Then, he found Crawford in a pool of blood.

Next, the judge heard from one of the officers who got a confession out of Crawford.  Officer Jerry Chatman said Graham confessed he borrowed his neighbor's car to confront Crawford and a man she was meeting at IHOP near Southland Mall.  When Graham didn't see the couple there, he went to her job and saw the man leaving the parking lot.

During cross-examination, Graham's attorney argued for second degree murder.  His attorney argued Graham had told the officers the shooting was accidental - that Crawford stumbled and the gun fired.

The attorney also asked the officer why they didn't videotape the confession, and if it was true Graham asked for an attorney.

The officer said he has never taped a confession and he wasn't aware Graham asked for an attorney.

When the judge ruled the murder was premeditated, Crawford's family cried.

The judge also upheld a second charge: employment of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The case now heads to the grand jury.

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