Defendant in 2016 Mamie Street murder pleads guilty, gets life

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One of four defendants accused of capital murder in the March 2016 shooting of Casey Smith was sentenced to life in prison Friday.

Marshall Vallejos, 23, appeared with Texarkana attorney Butch Dunbar before 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart. Vallejos pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and received a life sentence with parole possible as part of a plea bargain. Co-defendants Anthony Wilson Jr., 20, Jailon Gamble, 20, and Jaquelle Rogers, 22, continue to face capital murder charges and face life without the possibility of parole.

Smith, 28, was waiting for his children’s school bus the afternoon of March 29, 2016, in the 2400 block of Mamie Street in Texarkana, Texas, when three of the men approached him, allegedly to rob him, while the fourth waited nearby in a car. Smith was shot multiple times. Vallejos, who was struck by a bullet in the leg, shot Smith in the face.

At Friday’s hearing, Lockhart and Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp spoke of Vallejos’ difficult childhood.

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“He witnessed the murder of his own brother,” Crisp said. “While it doesn’t excuse his behavior, we can’t ignore that happened in his life.”

Vallejos and his brother were adopted from foster care by William and Cynthia Hudson in Cass County, Texas. In 2008, Cynthia Hudson beat Vallejos’ 13-year-old brother to death. Vallejos testified at Cynthia Hudson’s capital murder trial. She is currently serving a sentence of life without parole.

Casey Smith’s mother and wife read statements describing the pain their loss has caused.

“It feels like being punched in the stomach,” the mother said. “Seeing his name etched in granite and the date, March 29th, 2016, under his birthday.”

Smith’s mother spoke of her granddaughter, who will not have her father to celebrate milestones with her or walk her down the aisle at her wedding. Other family members wept as she talked of sleepless nights and bad dreams.

“We are grieving the loss of a son, a daddy, a brother, an uncle, a best friend,” the mother said. “The pain is unbearable. The tears are always there below the surface, waiting to fall.”

Casey Smith’s wife pointed out that she and Smith had been married nearly a year when he was murdered.

“You took the man I love away from me,” Smith’s wife said, describing the killing as selfish and cruel.

The three other defendants in the case are scheduled to appear before Lockhart next week for pretrial hearings. Wilson’s case was scheduled for jury selection next week but has been delayed because reports have not yet been received from the crime lab.

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