Judge revokes murder suspect’s bond for trip to McDonald’s

Brown answering questions in court Monday from his lawyer Al Smith (photo by Field Walsh)

A defendant in a Bowie County murder case appeared in court Monday afternoon after violating the restrictions of his personal recognizance bond.

Brandon Eric Brown, 22, violated the court mandated house arrest restrictions by deviating his route on his way from Bi-State to his current residence at the Salvation Army.

On Feb. 24th Brown received a ride from a friend in order to attend a scheduled meeting with pretrial services at Bi-State. At approximately 8:43 a.m., after his meeting, Brown left Bi-State and returned to the car with his friend and her seven year old daughter. All three of them traveled to McDonald’s on North State Line to purchase some breakfast.

Brown’s GPS leg monitor showed his trip to McDonald’s, indicating that he did not comply with a judge’s order concerning house arrest.

Brown, Marquell Smith, 21, and Shamari Newton, 25, are accused of first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Christopher Guilbeau. Guilbeau, 24, was found dead in a Texarkana, Texas alley March 6, 2015. Investigators believe he was killed days earlier, around Feb. 23, 2015, according to court records.

Brown and Smith were arrested March 5 in Tulsa, Okla., driving Guilbeau’s pickup truck. The day before, members of Guilbeau’s family reported him missing to police in Texarkana, Ark. Arkansas-side police flagged the truck in a national database as stolen and wanted in connection with a missing person case.

When Brown and Smith were brought from Oklahoma to Texas in July 2015, Brown’s bail was set at $750,000 and Smith’s at $1 million. Newton was arrested a couple of months later and her bail was set at $1 million.

In December, 202nd District Judge Leon Pesek denied requests from Brown’s and Smith’s lawyers to lower their bails. The attorneys argued that the men should be freed because the state was not ready to try their cases within 90 days of their arrests as required by state law for defendants who have been locked up continuously. The lawyers appealed to the 6th District Court of Appeals in Texarkana and a ruling from that court led Pesek to release the men and Newton on personal bonds Feb. 12.

Smith was only free for a weekend before he was back in jail for disobeying Pesek’s order to stay in his home on house arrest. Brown was arrested Friday.

After Judge Pesek and the court heard from a probation officer that was monitoring Brown’s GPS as well as Brandon’s friend and source of transportation to Bi-State on Friday morning, Judge Pesek explained to the court that the restrictions set when Brown was given a pretrial release were very strict and had to be followed carefully.

Judge Pesek went on to say that Brown was aware that his codependent left his route and was incarcerated, and it should have given Brown knowledge that any deviation from his marked route would not be tolerated by the court.

As a result of the violation, the court revoked Brown’s bond.

The next pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 14th.

Brown’s case is scheduled for trial in November. Smith’s trial is set for October and Newton’s case is scheduled for jury selection in December.

First degree murder is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison.

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