Testimony of deceased officer heard in killer's retrial - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Testimony of deceased officer heard in killer's retrial

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Timothy  McKinney Timothy McKinney

(WMC-TV) - A man convicted for killing a Memphis police officer may have a third chance at freedom.

Opening statements began Tuesday for Timothy McKinney's second retrial.

The jury heard testimony from the grave.

A former Memphis police officer, who is now deceased, identified Timothy McKinney as the killer.

It was a testimony the case hinges on.

McKinney is accused of shooting and killing Officer Don Williams outside a comedy club in the early morning hours of December 26, 1997.

Prosecutors say McKinney gave Williams trouble earlier in the evening, even yelled at him about his own car.

Memphis police officer Frank Lee was on duty with Williams that night. He chased after the shooter without catching him, though he identified the suspect as McKinney.

"It was the same guy they'd had trouble with all night," said Prosecutor Alanda Dwyer. "The same man who threatened to shoot up the club. The same man who said he's not afraid to go back to jail."

McKinney was convicted and sentenced to death in 1999, but an appeals court overturned his conviction.

In April 2012, his second trial ended in a hung jury.

Defense attorneys say Lee's eyewitness account is unreliable.

"Frank Lee is the only person out of the hundreds of people there that night that ever identified Timothy McKinney," said Defense Attorney Gerald Skahan.

Lee testified at the second trial but has since died.

Prosecutors plan to read the transcript of his April 2012 testimony.

Defense Attorneys say it will prove contradictory.

"You will hear inconsistencies," said Skahan. "And things adding on and adding on and adding on as the years wear on."

Years still wearing on for a once convicted killer with a third chance.

There was an audio recording of Lee's testimony. The jury followed along with a written transcript.

The trial will resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

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