Teen pleads guilty to murder of Pastor Autura Eason-Williams, widower vows to never forgive him

Convicted murderer, Miguel Andrade, 16.
Convicted murderer, Miguel Andrade, 16. | Screenshot/Action News 5

A 16-year-old with just an eighth-grade education has pleaded guilty to the daylight murder of prominent United Methodist Church pastor, the Rev. Autura Eason-Williams, and her widower vowed in court on Thursday that he will never forgive him for the crime.

The teenager, Miguel Andrade, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 28 years in prison, but family members of the late pastor who was killed during a carjacking at her home didn't think his punishment was sufficient.

“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.”

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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.

Police said 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.

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 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.”

The late pastor’s sister, Tricia Eason-Brock also told the teenager that she was displeased with the court allowing him bail until Thursday as well.

“What you did to Autura was not only selfish, but cruel,” Eason-Brock said. “I hope you get the max sentence for your crime. You are a disgrace. I’ve hated seeing you out, living your life while my sister is dead.”

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.

His guilty plea to second-degree murder on Thursday reduced his sentence to 20 years for that crime plus another eight years for the carjacking.

In a statement to Action 5 News, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office told Action News 5 that the punishment Andrade received was a fair compromise.

“Throughout this case, our office met with the family of Rev. Autura Eason-Williams on multiple occasions. There were split opinions within the family regarding the prospect of a trial and other factors. Considering the nature of the crime, public safety, and the family’s views, we determined that a suitable resolution was to meet in the middle with a sentence of 28 years,” the DA’s office said. “In contrast to the legal provision allowing juveniles the chance of release after serving 25 years, Miguel Andrade must serve the entire 28-year sentence without the opportunity for parole.”

A second teenager who was involved in the attack on the pastor was placed with child services after pleading guilty, while a third defendant, Eduardo Tabora, 22, is set to appear in court on Feb. 26 to answer to charges regarding his involvement in the murder.

In the wake of the pastor’s death, Jody Hill, president of Memphis Theological Seminary, shared in a statement on Facebook how devastated they were by her killing.

"She was a wife, mother, and a devoted friend to many. She led Formation classes at MTS and Signposts groups for the Center for Faith and Imagination. We join so many of you in shock and pain. Autura was a real light and a well of deep care," Hill said.

"Personally, I saw in her the spiritual gift of hospitality. Autura was eager to embrace all of God's children with a warm smile, gentle hug, or encouraging word. We grieve her loss and this senseless violence."

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

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