by on November 16, 2020
When yesterday's press conference ended and Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and Shelby County Attorney General Bill Gibbons had finished announcing the arrests of three individuals those in attendance and those watching on local news stations were grateful and at the same time trying to read in-between the lines of what had been said during the hour long press conference. After University of Memphis football player Taylor Bradford had been shot near his Carpenter Complex student apartment last Sunday, students and university staff were wondering if the murder included any students of the University of Memphis. With the arrests of three guys in their early-20s, I am sure Dr. Shirley Raines, the president at Memphis, breathed a sigh of relief but was certainly not jubilant knowing that Director Godwin had said that another arrest was pending. Well, it did not take long for that fourth arrest to be made and it rocked the campus to its core as University of Memphis student Devin Jefferson was arrested last night and was called the mastermind of the plot to rob and ultimately kill Taylor Bradford two days before the Tiger football team played Marshall University at Liberty Memorial Stadium less than three miles from where Bradford's body had been attacked by a bullet marked for him. While the other three perpetrators were arraigned in court in Memphis on Tuesday morning, Devin Jefferson who is 21, will be in General Sessions Court on Wednesday after his late Monday night arrest. If you read his Facebook page what you find is an ordinary, urban young guy who talked about making money at any cost. His ideal goal was to become a quatrillionaire. Having graduated from Treadwell High School, the same school that produced NBA basketball players Elliot 'Socks' Perry and Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway, Devin Jefferson entered the University of Memphis after finishing up his high school studies in 2004. A psychology and education major, it appears that Devin was on his way to graduating just like the Taylor Bradford was. Just 36 hours of graduating, Taylor will never receive the diploma he had worked so hard for and will never begin the job that was waiting for him back in Nashville upon his intended graduation. Bradford's death came a year after he sought a restraining order against another University of Memphis student, Erica Bell who attended the same high school as Taylor Bradford in Antioch outside of Nashville. Devin's arrest for the murder of Taylor is not his first dance with police either. On June 25 of this year, he was arrested for 2nd degree murder. However, after further investigation, no charges were pressed against Devin Jefferson and he was allowed to go home. Taylor Bradford's murder comes at a time when the city is in the midst of an intense crime wave. Taylor was the 121 murder inside the city limits of Memphis since January 1. With the recently completed mayor election and crime being one of the topics on the minds of most voting citizens, Devin's involvement eschews the hope that the university is a setting for opportunity for young urban men and women to leave behind the trappings and behaviors that had served them so well up until they became college students. How deceived we have been. At this point, no warrant has been issued for Erica Bell. It is not known whether she is still in the city even though she has a job at one of the residence halls on campus. Either way, yesterday was not a good day for the university or for its city. A Memphian killed Taylor Bradford last week. A Memphian, a University of Memphis student hatched the plan to kill a Tiger football player, hours after he won money at a blackjack table at the Horseshoe Casino. A Memphian sparked fear where education is the most important thing. When will the city graduate to less crime?
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