Man charged with murder of Pastor Autura Eason-Williams rejects plea deal

Eduard Rodriguez-Tabora, 22.
Eduard Rodriguez-Tabora, 22. | Screenshot/WREG

A 22-year-old man charged with the daylight murder of prominent United Methodist Church pastor, the Rev. Autura Eason-William, rejected a plea deal Monday that would have sentenced him to 35 years in prison.

The man, Eduard Rodriguez-Tabora, would have been eligible for parole in 16 years if he had accepted the deal, according to Action News 5.

Tabora is now set to go to trial on Sept. 30.

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Eason-Williams, 52, who led Capleville United Methodist Church in Tennessee, was fatally shot in the driveway of her home in Whitehaven during a carjacking just after 4 p.m. on July 18, 2022. Friends say she was on her mobile phone with a colleague when she was attacked.

Two teenagers were charged along with Tabora for the death of Eason-Williams. One teen waived his right to a hearing last year and pleaded guilty for his role in the attack on the pastor.  He will remain in the care of the Department of Children Services until the age of 19. The second teenager, 16-year-old Miguel Andrade, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 28 years in prison earlier this year.

Some family members of the late pastor didn’t think Andrade’s punishment was sufficient.

The late Rev. Autura Eason-Williams of Capleville United Methodist Church in Tennessee.
The late Rev. Autura Eason-Williams of Capleville United Methodist Church in Tennessee. | YouTube/Eason-Williams Answering the Call

Andrade was originally facing a first-degree murder charge for killing the pastor, along with carjacking, aggravated robbery, and possession of a firearm during a dangerous felony, WREG reported. Those charges carried possible maximum penalties of life in prison or the death penalty.

“I hate you to my f---ing gut,” the pastor’s widower, Darrell Eason-Williams, told Andrade during his victim impact statement, according to Action News 5. “I have no remorse for you. I wish the worst for you while you’re locked up for 28 years.”

The grieving widower also said he hoped the teenager’s family suffers “the worst pain imaginable” while he's locked up.

“I wish for you to die. I will never forgive you. I hope all your family … feels the worst pain imaginable with you being locked up. But it will never measure up to my pain,” he said, according to Memphis CBS affiliate WREG.

Andrade was charged as an adult in the case, at the request of the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office. Investigators said the teenager was wearing an ankle bracelet on the day he shot the pastor due to previous criminal activity. And even after he killed the pastor, the teenager went on to carjack another victim.

Despite the circumstances, Andrade was given bail and allowed to be free until he was sentenced on Thursday. The late pastor’s widower and other family members were outraged about the situation.

“You are only out on bond because the juvenile system is messed up. In other countries, they do a life for life,” Darrell Eason-Williams told Andrade. “But you will be eating three meals a day. Until changes are made with the juvenile system, there will continue to be unjust penalties.”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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