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Man indicted for murder of landlord who was trying to evict him

Robert Lee Collins III was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and convicted felon with a firearm in the death of Ernest Hatton.
Credit: Shelby County Sheriff's Office
Robert Collins

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Shelby County Grand Jury has indicted a Whitehaven man with the murder of his landlord who had been trying to evict him.

The Shelby County District Attorney General's Office said Robert Lee Collins III, 38, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and convicted felon with a firearm. He is being held without bond. 

According to prosecutors, in Nov. 2021, Collins was months behind on his rent for a small building in the 600 block of East Shelby Drive from Ernest Hatton, 50. They said Collins also failed to maintain the property where he worked on cars and often slept.

Investigators said the afternoon of Nov. 16, 2021, Hatton went to the building and Collins fired multiple gunshots at him. Hatton was struck more than a dozen times and died at a hospital. Police said Collins walked up to officers at the scene and admitted to shooting Hatton. A witness told investigators before the shooting Collins said if Hatton came to see him, he “had something for him.”

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