Nearly four years after the death of former Greater Memphis Chamber CEO Philip Trenary, the two men accused now know they will stand trial in early December.
Quandarius Richardson, 22, and 26-year-old McKinney Wright were indicted by a grand jury in June 2019. The two are charged with first-degree murder and criminal especially aggravated robbery.
According an affidavit, Wright told officers he and Richardson were discussing "possible robbery targets as they drove around downtown Memphis" the evening of Sep. 27, 2018. Witnesses later told Memphis police investigators they saw someone pull up and exit a white truck, walk towards Trenary, and shoot him in the back of the head.
When officers arrived on scene, they "observed Trenary lying in the street unresponsive with citizens attempting to render aid," according to the affidavit. Officers were called around 7:30 p.m., with Trenary being pronounced dead by staff at Regional One Medical Center about a half hour later.
After further investigation, MPD identified Richardson, then 18-years-old, as a suspect, although what connected Richardson to the crime was not disclosed by police.
From the archives: One year ago, Memphis gasped at the shooting death of Phil Trenary
Just before noon the following day, officers saw a stolen truck in Frayser that matched witness description of the truck from the Front Street crime scene. After attempting to pull the truck over, officers were led on a high-speed chase through Memphis neighborhoods and highways until crashing at the intersection of McLemore Avenue and Mississippi Boulevard.
Through the carnage, first responders pulled Richardson from the Ford F-150's broken cab. Shymontre Reed, a 19-year-old at the time, was also in the car, but cleared of any involvement in Trenary's death.
Wright was arrested the next day, along with his 16-year-old cousin. Police reports and affidavits never detailed the exact way MPD connected the three to the case, only saying Richardson provided a "statement" which led police to Wright and the 19-year-old. The 16-year-old, whose identity wasn't immediately released, would later be dismissed from the case.
Trenary was walking to his downtown home from the Greater Memphis Chamber's Move it Memphis run at nearby Loflin Yard when he was shot. He was not running in the event, himself, but spoke highly of the city before starting the half-mile walk back to his property on South Front Street.
"It was just pretty tough knowing that he was just sharing his excitement about his team, the city, and as always, just really positive and bullish on Memphis," Memphis-Shelby County Schools board member Kevin Woods told the Commercial Appeal in 2018. "His belief in Memphis had never been stronger. And then, moments later, he was gone."
After Trenary's death, a fund was set up in his honor through the Community Foundation bearing his name. The fund stood as an ongoing tribute for a man who adopted Memphis as his home for over two decades and was consistently looking for ways to spread wealth around the city.
He was posthumously honored by the Memphis City Council in 2018 with a Humanitarian Award which was received by Brittney Rowe, his daughter.
"He didn't pursue progress for recognition, he pursued it because it was part of his fabric," Rowe said. "He could visualize the best in each person, and if he was having a conversation with you, you were the only person in the room."
Trenary was remembered as the "tip-of-the-spear" on many initiatives the chamber pursued, leading on fighting poverty and persuading businesses to create summer jobs for young people — the route he told the Commercial Appeal in mid-2017 that could best lower poverty rates in the city.
"We talk about breaking the cycle of poverty, which is not saying you're going to end poverty, but if you're the first person in that family to have a solid middle-class job, and you have a sustained family, you have a car, you have a home, you have all those things, you've broken the cycle of poverty," Trenary said. "So, that's what we're talking about. Breaking the cycle of poverty in that family. If you do that ten times, we're talking about breaking the cycle of poverty in that community."
Lucas Finton is a news reporter with The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at Lucas.Finton@commercialappeal.com and followed on Twitter @LucasFinton.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis Chamber CEO Phil Trenary shooters face trial in December