Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:43

Third Defendant Enters Plea in Contractors Murder

Thomas Moss Thomas Moss SCSO
MEMPHIS – December 3, 2015 - The last of three defendants charged in the 2013 robbery and murder of contractor John “J.P.” Shelley pleaded guilty Thursday to facilitation to commit especially aggravated robbery, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
Thomas Moss, 19, who was the driver in the case, was sentenced to eight years in prison under a settlement approved by Criminal Court Judge W. Mark Ward.
Moss was prepared to testify against two codefendants before they pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case.
The shooting occurred Oct. 4, 2013, in the 4700 block of Scottsdale Ave. in the Parkway Village area where Shelley was meeting with construction worker Octavio Sanchez to discuss refurbishing a home.
They were confronted by two gunmen, later identified as Corey Sandifer, 18, and Derek Cunningham Jr., 17, who robbed Shelley of his cell phone, an iPad and cash. Sanchez was robbed of his wallet and cash.During the holdup, Cunningham shot Shelley in the neck, killing him. Sandifer robbed Sanchez at gunpoint and also was charged with criminal responsibility for the death of Shelley, who had a wife and two children.
Cunningham pleaded guilty in August to second-degree murder and aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 30 years in prison with no parole.
In September, Sandifer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison with no parole. He also was sentenced to 12 years for aggravated robbery. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
The case was handled by Ray Lepone, chief prosecutor of the DA’s Multi-Agency Gang Prosecution Unit, and by Asst. Dist. Atty. Neal Oldham, also of the special unit that handles homicide cases and other violent crimes associated with gang activity, specific targeted gang members and special cases assigned by the District Attorney General.
The prosecution team works daily with the MGU Operations team, using local ordinances and state and federal laws to hold offenders accountable.
About half of the unit’s caseload involves of homicides, with the rest involving violent crimes such as aggravated robberies, kidnappings, rapes, attempted murders and narcotics cases.