The Fisher Family Murders

Memphis Man Sentenced to Death for Mass Murder

Sedrick Clayton
Mass Murderer Sedrick Clayton. Mug Shot

On the morning of January 19, 2012, after an argument with his girlfriend in her home, Sedrick Clayton opened fire, killing Arithio and Patricia Fisher in their bedroom and then shooting 23-year-old Pashea Fisher at close range while she was on the telephone with 9-1-1 operators.

Clayton, 31, fired 12 shots, hitting his victims nine times, as his girlfriend pleaded with him not to kill her parents.

A forensic pathologist later testified that Pashea was shot in the temple from a distance as close as five inches from her head.

During the shooting spree, Clayton also turned his gun toward Pashea's brother, Arico Fisher, but he was not harmed.

After the shootings, Clayton took the couple's 4-year-old daughter Joydin from the house, he stole Pashea's car and fled the scene. On a second 9-1-1 call, Arico Fisher tells dispatchers that his family has been shot and the shooter has left the house.

Shortly after leaving the Fisher home, Clayton decided to turn himself into authorities. In a typed statement taken by police the same day, Clayton admitted the shootings, but said he started shooting out of fear when Mr. Fisher kicked him during his argument with Pashea.

Young Daughter Becomes Key Witness

Two years later, Joydin, at six years old, became a key witness in his June 2014 trial, testifying that her father shot her mother and grandparents.

During the first day of trial, prosecutors played for the jury the 9-1-1 tape in which Pashea begs Clayton not to hurt her parents. "Don't kill my mom and my dad, please!" Pashea Fisher yelled. Then after two shots were heard on the tape, Pashea was silent.

Arico Fisher testified at the trial that he saw Clayton shoot his sister in the head.

Prosecutor Jennifer Nichols told the jury, "Three wonderful people lost their life in a single morning for absolutely no reason. He could have left (the house) at any time. He chose not to."

Self-Defense Argument Rejected

On Saturday, June 14, 2014, after a seven-day trial, the jury found Clayton guilty of the three murders, rejecting the defense argument that Clayton opened fire in self-defense after Mr. Fisher kicked him in the chest during the argument with Pashea in which he accused her of infidelity.

On Sunday, June 15, 2014, the same jury voted to sentence Clayton to death, rejecting defense attorney Gerald Skahan's plea for mercy because Clayton had no prior adult criminal record other that traffic tickets and the pain the execution would cause his family.

Plea Deal Offer Rejected

The jury deliberated about two hours before voting for the death penalty.

Prior to the trial, Clayton, who confessed to the killings the same day they were committed, also offered, in writing, to plead guilty to three murder charges in exchange for three life-without-parole sentences.

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich rejected the offer due to the brutal nature of the murders, the aggravating factors, and the desires of the Fisher family.

A group of about 20 members of the Fisher family and their friends attended each day of the trial.

News Sources:
SFGate: 911 Call in Triple Shooting Includes 2 Gunshots
NY Daily News Memphis Man Sentenced to Death for Gunning Down Girlfriend, Her Parents in 2012