Judge gives 50-year sentence in 2015 murder

Brandon Eric Brown sentenced to 50 years Wednesday

One of three defendants charged with murder in a 2015 murder was sentenced to 50 years in prison Wednesday by a Bowie County judge.

Brandon Eric Brown, 24, chose to let 202nd District Judge John Tidwell determine his case rather than a jury. Co-defendant Marquell Smith, 22, was convicted of first-degree murder just a few weeks ago by a jury and sentenced to 60 years and assessed a $10,000 fine.

Tidwell found Brown guilty after hearing testimony Tuesday. Wednesday he assessed a sentence of 50 years for Brown for his role in the shooting death of Christopher Guilbeau. Guilbeau, 24, was shot to death Feb. 23, 2015, by Smith with a handgun Brown had given him.

Crime Scene at 12th & Summerhill Rd where Guilbeau’s body was found.
Crime Scene at 12th & Summerhill Rd where Guilbeau’s body was found.

Guilbeau had enlisted the help of a homeless man to sell methamphetamine, according to witnesses. The homeless man, Devonte Evans, took Guilbeau to an apartment in Texarkana, Texas, where Brown and Smith were visiting the occupant, Shamari Newton. After Evans told Smith he had someone waiting downstairs in the alley on Della Street, Evans went back to the truck. Brown gave Smith his gun and Smith went downstairs to Guilbeau’s truck.

Evans testified that Smith threatened to kill him too after he fired three bullets into Guilbeau. Brown and Smith were arrested in Tulsa, Okla., driving Guilbeau’s truck March 5, 2015. Guilbeau’s famiy had reported him missing the day before to police in Texarkana, Ark., which led to entry of the truck in a law enforcement database as wanted.

Guilbeau’s body was discovered March 6 in a wooded area near Della Street where Newton was living at the time of the shooting. Newton, who was in her apartment with Brown when Smith shot Guilbeau, testified that Smith threatened her as well. Newton is the only one of the defendants against whom a murder charge remains unresolved.

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