‘Justice for Jay Lee’ rally held outside as man charged with Ole Miss student’s murder appears in court

OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI) – Tim Herrington Jr., the man charged with killing Ole Miss student Jay Lee, made his first appearance in court on Wednesday.

Herrington appeared before Judge Gray Tollison at around 1:30 p.m. in Lafayette County Circuit Court after Oxford Police arrested him on Friday. His attorney Kevin Horan requested a continuance for Herrington’s bond hearing, which the judge granted.

As he exited the courthouse, Herrington was greeted by cries of “Stop killing us!” from the crowd waiting outside.

Herrington is charged with the first-degree murder of his former Ole Miss classmate Lee, who disappeared on July 8th. Ole Miss senior Braylyn Johnson says she had been friends with Lee since 2019 and described the nearly three weeks since he went missing as a nightmare.

“The moment that they announced that he was murdered and that Timothy was (allegedly) responsible for his murder, everyone became hateful and homophobic,” she says. “They didn’t believe that Timothy could have done this to him.”

Johnson says that she knew Herrington too, who had graduated in the spring of 2022.

“You don’t know who people are behind closed doors,” she says. “Just because (he) wears a f****** suit does not mean that he wasn’t capable of murder.”

Before, during and after the hearing, there was a “Justice for Jay Lee” rally featuring members of the LGBTQ+ community from both Ole Miss and Memphis. The crowd outside the courthouse demanded justice for the murder of Lee, an openly gay man, and called for an end to all violence against the queer community.

“There’s so many of us that disappear on a daily basis,” says Memphis community leader Brandon Price. “There’s so many things happening everyday that don’t even get covered.”

John Taylor Wilbanks, who asked to be referred to as Moth Moth Moth, is the director for Memphis LGBTQ+ advocacy group Focus Center Foundation and told reporters to keep the spotlight on Lee’s murder and others like it.

“Do not let this case get buried in the fossil record. Do not,” Moth says. “Because this case demonstrates how easy it is to hurt queer people in the South.”

Those who knew Lee say he was very outspoken when it came to LGBTQ+ rights and had taken several steps towards creating a more inclusive campus at Ole Miss.

 “Jay Lee was irreplaceable,” Moth says. “She was irreplaceable and her sisters miss her. And she cannot come back. But we can celebrate her life and we can make sure that everything that she did, the beauty that she brought into this world, gets remembered and it gets talked about.”

Herrington’s bonding hearing is set for August 9th in Lafayette County Circuit Court at 10 a.m. Both Herrington’s attorneys and Lee’s family declined to comment.

 Oxford PD is still searching for Lee’s body.

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