Memphis, Tennessee contractor J.P. Shelley had been at a home giving a customer a routine estimate when both he and the homeowner became the victims of a robbery. Three teens held the men at gunpoint, shooting and killing Shelley at the scene on October 4, 2013, the same day as his son’s birthday.
It’s been nearly four years since the murder of J.P. Shelley. After a lengthy investigation, Corey Sandifer, Derek Cunningham, Jr., and Thomas Moss were charged with Shelley’s murder. Sandifer has since been sentenced to 15 years in prison while also serving a concurrent sentence of 12 years for the robbery. Cunningham has also been sentenced to 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole, while Moss has been sentenced to serve only eight years.
Since her husband’s murder, Beverly Shelley has been vocal in keeping J.P.’s memory alive. In an interview in October of 2013, Shelley told WMCA Action News, “[He] would do anything for anyone and would have given these people anything. He probably did, but they still chose to shoot him. It just breaks my heart that anyone can be so cold hearted … We’re a part of this community, and it just breaks my heart that other people in the community have just torn my family apart.”
Shelley even maintains a Facebook page dedicated to her late husband where she shares information regarding her family’s case, as well as updates on how her family is coping with the loss of her husband. It’s a page filled with messages of hope and faith in the justice system, but as of recently, Beverly has uncovered something troubling regarding one of her husband’s convicted killers.
Under the pseudonym “Crim MunHey,” Derek Cummingham, Jr., who is currently serving out his 30-year sentence has been making posts to Facebook, showing off what’s been described as, “a party behind prison walls.”
Shelley told WMCA Action News, “… it really has opened my eyes to gang life in Memphis. They glorify this behavior and that appears to be continuing in the prison system.”
Since his sentencing, Cummingham has been regularly engaging in the social media platform from inside Northwest Correctional Complex and Tennessee Department of Corrections, which he now calls home. Cummingham can be seen on the Facebook page flashing gang signs, taking selfies with his cellmates, asking friends to call him, and authoring posts with the hashtag “free me.”
Nashville’s WSMV-TV also reported on Cummingham’s questionable activity behind bars. According to an investigation they conducted on similar activities by prison inmates dating back to 2013, their findings resulted in state-level investigations on 14 different prisons and more than 70 inmates were found in violation of prison regulations. In spite of their efforts to expose this growing issue, Shelley was shocked to have learned that this was still an on-going problem.
Cummingham’s Facebook has been removed since gaining attention by the media, but WSMV-TV found that there were still dozens of other active accounts owned by prisoners that currently operate on the website.
Lee Dotson of the Tennessee Department of Corrections agreed to a sit-down interview with the network. He acknowledged that the problem with inmates getting their hands on digital devices behind bars was a constant struggle. Due to federal laws, a total block on WiFi signals is not a possibility, but Dotson assured the network’s I-Team that there were ongoing investigative plans being implemented in order to combat the issue.