Men accused of first degree-murder appear in court

Brandon Eric Brown (Photo by Field Walsh)
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Two of the men accused in the shooting death of a Texarkana man last year appeared in court in Texarkana Monday.

Brandon Eric Brown, 22, and Marquell Deonte Smith, 21, appeared before 202nd District Judge Leon Pesek Jr. in separate hearings with separate lawyers.

Brown, Smith and Shamari Newton, 25, are charged with first-degree murder in the February 201 shooting death of Christopher Guilbeau.

Browns lawyer, Al Smith, told the court he expects the Sixth District Court of Appeals to make a ruling on Pesek’s refusal to lower bail from $750,000. Chief Public Defender Rick Shumaker also filed with the court of appeals in regards to Marquell Smith’s bail of $1 million.

According to Texas law a defendant who is detained in jail pending trial of an accusation against him must be released either on personal bond or by reducing the amount of bail required, if the state is not ready for trial of the criminal action for which he is being detained within 90 days. Pesek called the 90-day law unreasonable and declined to lower bail.

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Marquel Smith and Brown were arrested in Tulsa, Okla., March 5, while riding in Guilbeau’s white 2008 Dodge pickup. The next day Guilbeau’s body was found in an alley in Texarkana, Texas near a duplex where Newton had been living at the time Guilbeau disappeared in late February.

Newton and Marquel Smith were allegedly dating at the time of Guilbeau’s death and witnesses reported Newton had knowledge of the killing, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Newton is scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing before Judge Pesek next week.

If convicted of first degree murder, the three defendants face sentences of five to 99 years or life in a Texas prison.

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