ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Thursday, two teenagers had their first court appearance since the February murder of 15-year-old EJ Utley in Antioch.
The suspects, 16-year-old Wilton Alexander and 15-year-old Trameisha Farris, have been charged with the teenager’s homicide on his front porch. In court, two witnesses and a detective testified against the pair.
“My heart aches,” Utley’s cousin Catherine Miller-Bowers said. “There it is, that split second.”
Now the lives of two families, the Alexanders and the Utleys, have been changed forever because of one gunshot.
“The two young men have been friends for some time, elementary through middle school, because they both are heavily involved in sports,” Miller-Bowers said.
Outside the courtroom on Thursday after testimony, Alexander’s mother and Utley’s shared a hug and well wishes. Miller-Bowers said everyone involved is sad that this situation resulted in this way.
Witnesses who drove Farris and Alexander to Pointer Court on the morning of Feb. 4 testified they were unaware of the pair’s plans and were not informed of Utley’s murder until talking with police during questioning later that day.
Both teenage witnesses say Farris and Alexander returned to the car after being dropped off minutes before with Alexander carrying two guns and no shoes. Detectives said a pair of white shoes were left at the scene of Utley’s home.
“Guns are very accessible in our community, especially with young people. They’re not afraid of them,” Miller-Bowers said.
But Miller-Bowers said no matter the outcome of the pair’s sentencing, young people need to realize their quick actions have consequences.
“They don’t see that. But they need to see this. It needs to be driven home,” Miller-Bowers said.
Farris and Alexander are set to appear in court again in August. Both could still be tried as adults for the homicide charges.