Second defendant faces jury in 2017 fatal shooting following football party


NEW BOSTON, Texas: A jury was chosen Tuesday at the Bowie County courthouse to decide if a second man charged in a fatal 2017 shooting is guilty of murder.

Takyme James was convicted in December 2018 of murder in the Dec. 3, 2017, death of Tony Sanders, 51, and sentenced to life. This week a jury is seated to decide if Clarence Willis, 47, is guilty of murder in Sanders’ death. A third defendant, LaPrense Willis, is also charged with murder in the case.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Sanders and James were involved in a physical altercation earlier in the day at a private club where Sanders hosted and people came to eat, drink, watch football and play games. James became intoxicated and attempted to strike Sanders when Sanders asked him to leave.

Witnesses testified at James’ trial last year that James asked Clarence Willis and LaPrense Willis for help and the three went to Sanders’ home on Jones Street that night.

Sanders wife reported to police that she observed James, Clarence Willis and LaPrense Willis drive by her home and park around the corner the night of her husband’s death. The wife reported that Clarence Willis and James confronted Sanders in his driveway and that she hid in a bedroom in the house.

Sanders’ wife told officers she heard the sound of someone kicking in her front door before hearing a gunshot. Sanders suffered a severe gunshot wound to his upper right leg and died of his injury that night at a local hospital.

Clarence Willis faces five to 99 years or life if convicted. Fifth District Judge Bill Miller is presiding over the trial. Clarence Willis is represented by Texarkana attorney Butch Dunbar. Assistant District Attorneys Kelley Crisp and Lauren Richards are representing the state.

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