Man gets 99 years for his part in 2017 murder


NEW BOSTON, Texas: A man who assisted the shooter in a 2017 murder was sentenced Thursday to 99 years in prison.

Clarence Willis, 47, was found guilty of murder in the Dec. 3, 2017, death of Tony Sanders. Sanders, 51, was shot once in his upper right leg by Takyme James. James is currently serving a life sentence.

Sanders had asked James to leave a Sunday evening football party at a private club for being drunk and belligerent. When Sanders asked him to leave, James put his hands on Sanders and a short physical altercation ensued. Sanders helped James off the floor after the tussle and James left with a bloody face and black eye.

When James left he got a gun and recruited his cousins, Clarence Willis and Laprense Willis, to back him up in a confrontation with Sanders. All three men drove to Sanders’ home on Jones Street in Texarkana, Texas. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said investigators believe Clarence Willis kicked in the door to Sanders’ home and James walked in and fired a single shot which hit Sanders in the leg and caused him to quickly bleed to death.

Crisp said that all three men are accountable for Sanders’ death because of the law of parties. If a person aids, assists or encourages someone else to commit a crime, that person is just as guilty as if they had pulled the trigger.

Clarence Willis was represented by Texarkana attorney Butch Dunbar. Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards prosecuted the case. Fifth District Judge Bill Miller presided over the trial.

Charges are still pending against Laprense Willis. He faces five to 99 years or life in prison if convicted of murder.

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