Live from Music Row, Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Roger Simon in-studio to comment upon the uptick in crime that is plaguing Democratic-run cities across the country, and the role of district attorneys.
(Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee” plays)
Leahy: Roger Simon, that’s the original 1959 version of “Memphis, Tennessee” by Chuck Berry.
Simon: Great cut. By the way, that’s how I learned, as a little New York boy, how I learned about Memphis. But, you know – and I just saw the Baz Luhrmann movie about Elvis, which, by the way, is terrific, and everybody should see it. But this is not about Memphis. This is about America.
Every single city in our country has been hit by stuff like this. And when are we going to wake up? They’re all run by Democrats. Hello. But where’s the Republican Party in all of this?
Absent. Here in Nashville, we couldn’t even – the Davidson County Republican Committee, or whatever they call it, couldn’t even get it together to nominate someone for DA.
Leahy: District attorney, yes.
Simon: Now, the DA is the most important job in every city right now, because that’s the person who decides who gets out on the street and who doesn’t. And I’ll tell you something, it’s the biggest issue the Republican Party has today. If they want to win this election in November, they should all get out in front of this.
Leahy: Yes, a very good point. Now, Memphis, Tennessee, is perhaps … it’s one of the worst cities in America for the issue of crime. And we’ve seen in the past week two horrific instances of crime. Right?
Simon: Chicago is pretty bad too.
Leahy: On Friday, a young mom, Eliza Fletcher was out jogging, a young mom and a young teacher. Early in the morning, she was kidnapped, abducted, and murdered. And there’s a lot worse than that. But her body was discovered. And now a criminal, who spent 20 years in jail [and] was released, and is being held without bail on that charge.
And then yesterday, a murder spree by 19-year-old Ezekiel Kelly, who basically went on a random killing spree, killed four people, just because he wanted to, and streamed it live on Facebook.
And in addition to that, when he was booked last night at 9:20 p.m., his booking photo, you can see it at tennesseestar.com, shows him smiling as if he’s just going to a prom.
Simon: Yes, he’s a madman. But here’s the thing. In fairness to Memphis, this is a national problem, and it’s a Nashville problem, too. Look, I moved here a little over four years ago to get out of California, where it was horrible, and now it’s getting bad here.
This is a tourist town, and people are scared to walk around on Broadway. People have to get this together. And I call upon the Tennessee legislature to act against all these DAs. They could make a big statement to the country and do, actually, the Republican Party a favor if they stepped out on this.
Leahy: And if you look at the instance of Ezekiel Kelly, who allegedly did kill these four people yesterday and streamed it live on Facebook, this guy was charged with first-degree attempted murder back in 2020.
And apparently, the prosecutor in Memphis cut a deal with them. And that deal, he pled guilty to aggravated assault, which was a mandatory three-year sentence, but guess how much he served of that? Eleven months.
Simon: The DA in Memphis who cut that deal should go to jail. I mean, that’s what we have reached. These people are clueless, and they’re not thinking about the public. They’re thinking about – I don’t know what they’re thinking about. They’re thinking about their own (in tone of mock superiority) moral value and being nice guys because I’m letting this guy out who just tried to murder somebody.
Leahy: Here in Tennessee, the mayor of Memphis, Jim Strickland, gave his press statement, and that statement came just a few hours ago, a little after midnight this morning. And it was interesting what he said about the suspect in this instance. I’ll read this, and just get your reaction.
“The people of our city were confronted with a type of violence no one should have to face. Ezekiel Kelly was charged with criminal attempted first-degree murder but pled guilty in April of 2021 to the lesser charge of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to three years, but served only 11 months, and was released on March 16th, 2022, less than six months ago. If Mr. Kelly had served his full three-year sentence, he would still be in prison today and four of our fellow citizens would still be alive.”
“Thank you,” said Mayor Strickland, “to the state legislature, led by Speaker Sexton and Lieutenant Governor McNally for passing truth in sentencing. From now on, three years for aggravated assault means three years.”
So these crimes, like aggravated assault, murder, rape, et cetera, you serve the full time. It’s called truth in sentencing. What’s interesting about that bill, it was passed by the state legislature. Governor Bill Lee did not sign it.
Simon: Yes, what’s with Lee? Lee is supposedly a religious man, but I think he’s got his religion mixed up. And I hate to say that, but it’s the truth. And also aggravated assault is quite a long way down from murder.
Leahy: The prosecutor cut a deal and it’s backfired.
Simon: I’m not so happy with a three-year sentence for a guy who tries to murder somebody.
Leahy: But again, back to your other point about how this is particularly bad in Memphis …
Simon: It’s national.
Leahy: Is there any major city in America that is, A, not run by Democrats and B, not extremely unsafe these days?
Simon: I can only speak to the cities I go to frequently, and for work, I go back to Los Angeles reluctantly. It used to be a great place. It’s a horror show now. New York is a little better than L.A. But you can’t walk around New York at night and feel safe. You just can’t.
When I was a kid, I grew up in New York. I used to go to Yankee games with my friends and come back at 10:00 p.m. at night and my parents wouldn’t even ask questions.
Leahy: No big deal.
Simon: Yes, it’s hard even to remember that was true. It’s so sad. And the people who are in authority who let this happen should pay for that.
Leahy: You’re talking about district attorneys that in many cases get elected because George Soros …
Simon: George Soros!
Leahy: … spends millions of dollars.
Simon: The man of our time is George Soros.
Leahy: I would agree. And basically what he does is he funds left-wing lunatic lawyers and basically gives them an agenda.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Ezekiel Kelly” by Shelby County Jail.