Pandemic motivates local prosecutors to work cold cases

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Prosecutors whose workloads have been slowed by COVID-19 state guidelines will begin reviewing cold-case homicide files in hopes of identifying and bringing some killers to justice, according to Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.

Last Friday, dozens of assistant district attorneys – practicing social distancing – drove by the Criminal Justice Center on the Washington Ave. side to pick up the first batch of 92 files to work on at home.

Next week, 92 more homicide files will be distributed to the prosecutors.
“Our ADA’s normally touch more than 15,000 cases each month,” said Weirich, “but that number has dropped sharply since we’re only handling cases with in-custody defendants, as directed by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

“This is a rare opportunity,” she continued, “for our team to review these files and look for names, small details and any other information that might lead to solving the case.”

Cases distributed Friday are police investigation files that range mostly from 2013 to 2017.

New leads or follow-up questioning suggested by prosecutors will be handled by members of the DA’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Paul Hagerman, Chief Prosecutor of the DA’s Crime Strategies & Narcotics Prosecution Unit, said more details about the cases will be made public next week as prosecutors comb through the files for details.

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