Freddie Ball talks about being in a state of "disbelief" regarding the thought of the nephew she raised being involved in the taking of a life. (Photo: Johnathan T. Martin)
McKinney Wright (Photo: Memphis Police Department)

The family of McKinney Wright Jr., one of the three people accused of killing Greater Memphis Chamber President/CEO Phil Trenary, went to the courthouse hoping to talk with him on Monday.

Wright’s father, McKinney Stevenson, and his aunt, Freddie Ball, had not yet seen the 22 year old when they were immersed in a flow of media questions outside of General Sessions Court, Division 7. One of Wright’s co-defendants, 18-year-old Quandarius Richardson, had been arraigned on charges connected to the fatal shooting of Trenary Downtown on Thursday night.

From Wright’s family came a story of concern about the mental capacity of Wright, who had graduated as a special-needs student from Mitchell High School. Ball said she raised Wright for the first 18 years of his life.

“He has a problem of thinking and free will,” said Ball outside of the courtroom. “Every time he gets in trouble, it (is) with someone trying to badly influence him. He’s 22, but he has the mind of a 14 year old.”

Co-defendant Racanisha Wright is McKinney Wright’s cousin.

The Wrights and Richardson reportedly waived their rights to remain silent and request an attorney before telling investigators of their involvement in Trenary’s homicide, which they reportedly have said was part of an intended robbery.

“I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what went on that day,” Ball said. “All I know is the guy they were with (Richardson) more or less knows more about what happened…”

McKinney Stevenson, the father of McKinney Wright, who is one of three charged with killing Phil Trenary. (Photo: Johnathan T. Martin)

Ball said McKinney Wright had been declared disabled and did not work. She said he partly lived with her and with his mother, Celestine Wright.

Ball said the family would be in court on Tuesday as Wright and Richardson are arraigned on the murder charges.

“Right now, I’m just (in) disbelief that I would raise a child that would take a human life,” Ball said.

Asked if she believed that Wright was guilty of the charges, Ball said, “I really don’t know. I need to talk to him to find out.”

Wright’s father said, “I don’t know exactly what happened. I’m down here now trying to find out.”

Wright also had a hearing on a possession of a controlled substance case in Division 8 on Monday. Stevenson said his son never had faced charges regarding a violent crime.

(This story was written by Associate Publisher/Executive Editor Karanja A. Ajanaku and includes the reporting of photojournalist Johnathan Martin.)