Cop killer released from death row back behind bars - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Cop killer released from death row back behind bars

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Timothy McKinney Timothy McKinney
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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Freedom has proven to be too much to handle for Timothy McKinney, who spent 15 years on Tennessee's death row.

According to Memphis Police McKinney, who was released in May 2013, is back behind bars after being accused of trying to kill someone else.

McKinney, convicted of killing former Memphis Police officer Don Williams in a 1997 shooting outside a nightclub, is facing a charge of attempted first degree murder. Police say he fired shots inside a convenience store, wounding of a 14-year-old boy.

DOWNLOAD: Read McKinney Affidavit of Complaint

Reactions to his arrest range from shock and anger to outrage.

In general we are a nation merciful enough to believe in the granting of second chances in life. Last year the former death row inmate looked and sounded like a man ready to make the most of an extraordinary opportunity to start his over again.

It was easy to talk the talk, but police allege McKinney couldn't walk the walk of the straight and narrow.

MORE: Death row inmate McKinney released from jail
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MORE: McKinney retried third time in 1997 murder case

In May 2013, McKinney emerged from the criminal justice center a free man as the recipient of a judicial stalemate. Then as a man who'd spent 15 years, six months and 25-and-a-half days incarcerated, he offered his own bitter analysis of the criminal justice system.

"It's broken beyond measures," McKinney said in May 2013. "There needs to be some real adjustments."

But, almost eight months to the day after his plea bargained release, it's McKinney who allegedly has violently shown he wasn't capable of making his own adjustments since his return to society. Shockingly, the convicted murderer of Officer Williams, finds himself behind bars again.

McKinney faces multiple charges, including attempted first degree murder and convicted felon in possession of a firearm, after police say an argument with another man led him to open fire inside the North Memphis Market on vollintine Avenue last week.

In the process a 14-year old teen, who was not McKinney's intended target, was shot in the leg. The news of McKinney's arraignment on Thursday set off a firestorm of reactions within the criminal justice community and from the still grieving family of Officer Williams.

"There's not a day goes by, Les, that we don't think about Don," said Vince Higgins, Williams' family member. "There's not a day goes by we don't think about the time that we've missed him."

After McKinney's original conviction was overturned in 2010, two hung juries followed. Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said time was not an ally in holding together the prosecution's case for a possible fourth time, especially since the key eyewitness to Officer Williams' shooting, former Officer Frank Lee, was deceased.

"The powerfulness of our case or lack of powerfulness of our case, without Don's partner here, he had passed away in between that second and third trial, and that ... that had an impact," DAG Weirich said.

McKinney's former defense counsel, Gerald Skahan, asserts the release and now re-arrest of his former client spotlights the high recidivism rate among Memphis convicted felons. The result, he says, of a penal system where inmates learn nothing and a neighborhoods that aren't ready to embrace ex-cons when they're back on the streets.

"Not only is an inmate that has done a long term sometimes not any better than when they get out, often times the community that they came from is a lot worse off than when they left," Skahan said.

As for McKinney's latest troubles, Williams' family is once again ready to let the legal system, broken or not, run it's course.

"We trust that justice will be carried out," Higgins said. "Whether it be carried out. Whether it be man's justice in court system or whether it be a more divine type of justice."

McKinney is being held in the Shelby County jail on a $300,000 bond.

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