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Previous convictions of men charged in high-profile murders detailed in Shelby County juvenile court

New details from court documents present the offenses that Ezekiel Kelly and Cleotha Henderson were charged with as teenagers.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — New details have surfaced regarding the previous charges and convictions of two men accused of separate high-profile Memphis murders in the past week.

Memphis Police have officially accused Ezekiel Kelly, 19, of a shooting rampage across the city that killed three people on Wednesday and injured three others. Shelby County court records show he was accused of stealing a car as well as robbing and beating up a student years before this tragedy. 

Kelly was eventually convicted and put in custody of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. Court documents said it was "not reasonable to maintain the child in the home."

Out again in February 2020, court records accuse Kelly of shooting a man and injuring another 13-year-old in Frayser. 

A grand jury indicted him in the summer of 2020 on several charges, including attempted first degree murder. Still, Kelly was only convicted of aggravated assault and served time behind bars until his sentence expired in March.

As for Henderson—the man accused of killing Eliza Fletcher last Friday—records show a rape charge in June 1998. 

At this time, Henderson was 14. He was found guilty in July 1998—the very next month. 

Documents show Kelly was put into custody of the Youth Services Bureau and was returned to his mother's custody at some point.

"I think it's a catalyst for us to begin to think about where we actually need to put resources," Natalie McKinney of the Shelby County Juvenile Court Judge Task Force said.

McKinney, fellow task force member Cardell Orrin and others are assigned to come up with new ideas of how to properly punish and rehabilitate children who have been convicted of serious crimes.

"The young people that we've talked to and been involved in the system—we are talking about a continuum of care, so [we ask] how do we think about the care that young people need as they are going through different levels of the system and processes" Orrin said.

As for Kelly,  prosecutors said they expect additional charges will be announced in the coming days.

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