Man convicted of murdering girlfriend could be set free - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man convicted of murdering girlfriend could be set free

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Michael Rimmer was arrested, convicted of murder, and sentenced to death row in November 1998. Michael Rimmer was arrested, convicted of murder, and sentenced to death row in November 1998.
Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich has recused her office and requested a special outside prosecutor handle the case from now on. Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich has recused her office and requested a special outside prosecutor handle the case from now on.

(WMC-TV) - A man convicted of murdering his girlfriend could be a free man depending on the outcome of a retrial.

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich has recused her office and requested a special outside prosecutor handle the case from now on.

"The continued involvement by our office in this case has and would create a distraction that the victims and the citizens of Shelby County do not deserve," said Weirich.

On February 8, 1997 Ricci Ellsworth disappeared from her job as night clerk at the Memphis Inn.

Her body was never recovered, but Michael Rimmer was arrested, convicted of murder, and sentenced to death row in November 1998. He was re-sentenced to death row in 2004. This was recently overturned, and Rimmer granted a new trial.

Ellsworth's family must start all over again.

"Imagine what they have been through since 1997. It's just better to get this case back on the track of seeking justice and getting this case back in court and trying Mr. Rimmer on the merits of this case," said Weirich.

A special prosecutor has options: seek a plea deal, take it to a jury, or avoid trial.

The passage of time will surely be a factor in the decision. After 17 years, witness and evidence becomes less reliable with each passing day.

"We have an official court record of what was testified to in previous court hearings," said Weirich. "They pose challenges, but not insurmountable."

Rimmer's defense declined comment, saying he did not think it appropriate until after a court order officially naming a new prosecutor.

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