Bowie County jury finds man guilty of 2015 murder

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A Bowie County jury returned a guilty verdict Wednesday evening for a man accused of killing a Texarkana man he wanted to rob.

Marquell Smith, 22, will return to court Thursday for the punishment phase of trial. The jury was instructed by 202nd District Judge John Tidwell to return to court at 9 a.m.

Wednesday the jury heard from one of Smith’s two co-defendants, Shamari Newton, 25. Newton testified that Smith and a third co-defendant, Brandon Brown, were in her apartment the morning of Feb. 23, 2015, when Devonte “Dee” Evans knocked on the door and told Smith he had someone waiting downstairs who wanted to sell some methamphetamine.

Newton said Smith told Evans he’d be down in a minute and Evans left the apartment. Newton testified that Smith asked Brown for his gun and stuffed it in his pants before leaving her and Brown in the apartment. Newton said a short time later she heard several shots and then a “frantic” knock on her door. Newton said Smith admitted he shot Guilbeau and warned her to keep silent.

Evans testified Tuesday that Guilbeau gave him three cigarettes the morning of Feb. 23 after being asked for one. Evans, who was homeless at the time, said Guilbeau offered to give him some money if he helped Guilbeau sell some methamphetamine. Evans said he directed Guilbeau to Newton’s home on Della Street because he knew Smith was there and might be interested in purchasing the drugs.

Evans said he was in the passenger seat of Guilbeau’s truck when Smith got into the back and sat behind him. Evans said Guilbeau and Smith were discussing a price for the meth when the conversation stopped and he realized Smith was pointing a gun at Guilbeau. Evans said Smith yelled at Guilbeau to give him what he had and then shot him in the face. Evans said Smith shot Guilbeau twice more in the back, yelling at the man before each shot. Evans said Smith held the gun to his neck after killing Guilbeau and told him to keep quiet.

Smith and Brown were arrested in Tulsa, Okla., on the evening of March 5 driving Guilbeau’s pickup. Guilbeau’s body was discovered by Texarkana, Texas, police the following day in a wooded area near the intersection of Della and 12th Streets.

Smith’s lawyer, Bruce Condit of Texarkana, argued that Evans was the shooter and that Smith was just an easy target for police.

First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd told the jury in closing remarks that Smith is “cold and callous.”

“I want you to think about the fact that after he threatened Dee and threatened his own girlfriend, he rolled Chris’ body in carpet padding and dragged him into a wooded area,” Shepherd said.

Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter remarked on the fear Evans and Newton felt after the shooting which made them reluctant to talk to law enforcement.

“He had just shot and killed somebody,” Carter said. “The threat was real and they were scared.”

Thursday morning the jury is expected to hear testimony and arguments meant to help them decide Smith’s fate. First-degree murder is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.

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