Law and Legal

Convicted Cop Killer Sentenced to Life in Prison

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(Screenshot WREG broadcast)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tremaine Wilbourn was sentenced by a jury Tuesday to life in prison without parole in the murder of Memphis Police Officer Sean Bolton in 2015.

An argumentative Wilbourn was removed from the courtroom by the judge before the sentencing verdict was read because of his “profane outbursts.”

Prosecutors in their closing statements had told jurors to “look at the face of a coward.” At that point, Wilbourn called the prosecutor a racist and said he didn’t want to stay for the rest of the trial, reported WREG.

Wilbourn, 32, was convicted Sunday of killing  Memphis Police Officer Sean Bolton on a Parkway Village street.

The jury convicted him on charges of first-degree murder, using a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony, being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun and carjacking, a crime that occurred after Officer Bolton was killed.

The convicted cop killer will be sentenced later for the state carjacking conviction and the weapons offenses by Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee.

The defense tried to show the jury mitigating factors, which they said should be taken into consideration when deciding his fate. They painted Wilbourn as someone who grew up in less than ideal circumstances.

Conversely, the state claimed he had all the chances in the world to turn his life around. He just failed to make the right ones, they said.

During the Tuesday sentencing hearing, things turned heated. A member of the prosecution moved towards Tremaine Wilbourn and declared to the courtroom, “Look at the face of the coward,” reported Fox 13

Wilbourn exchanged words with her. He eventually decided not to sit in on the proceedings after making an outburst in court.

At one point, he called her a racist.

Judge Coffee told Wilbourn that he did not have to have to stay in the courtroom. As a result, the man convicted of First-Degree murder chose to leave.

As he walked out, he again called her a racist.

The defense tried to claim the prosecutor’s action was grounds for a mistrial, but Judge Coffee ultimately stated he would not reward Wilbourn for “acting a fool” while in court.

The judge told the jury to disregard any outbursts made and not to allow Wilbourn subsequent voluntary absence from court to impact their decision on sentencing.

Officer Bolton’s brother released the following statement in response to the sentencing hearing:

We would like to thank the men and women of the jury, Judge Coffee, officers of the court and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office. We would also like to thank the men and women of law enforcement in Shelby County who work so diligently to serve and protect. We see the sacrifices you and your families make to keep our community safe. Nothing can bring Sean back to us, but we take comfort in the fact that his murderer can never cause harm to anyone else in our community.

Background information on the case

Officer Sean Bolton was killed in the line of duty back in August 2015. Tremaine Wilbourn is the Memphis man accused of shooting him.

Investigators were called to the 4800 block of Summerlane Ave. in Parkway Village.

Police say Wilbourn and another man were sitting in a vehicle when the suspect shot the officer as he was approaching the car.

Wilbourn then ran from the scene and carjacked a man at gunpoint. Two days later, he turned himself into MPD.

He was given a $10 million bond.

Wilbourn also pleads guilty to federal charged in 2017. He was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison for federal weapons and carjacking charges connected to the Bolton murder.

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