Man gets 60 years for theft, mur­der

Texarkana Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn LaRowe

NEW BOS­TON, Texas—A Bowie County jury handed down a 60-year sen­tence Thurs­day for a 22-yearold man found guilty Wed­nes­day of mur­der­ing a man and steal­ing his truck.

Mar­quell Smith was or­dered to pay a $10,000 fine as well.

“The state is sat­is­fied with the 60-year sen­tence be­cause in the eyes of the state of Texas, that is equiv­a­lent to a life sen­tence,” First As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Mike Shep­herd said. “The de­fen­dant must serve 30 years be­fore he is el­i­gi­ble for pa­role.”

De­fen­dants as­sessed a sen­tence of life in Texas are el­i­gi­ble for pa­role after serv­ing 30 years as well.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the time and ef­fort taken by this jury to reach a just ver­dict,” Shep­herd said.

Smith, 22, burst into sobs and ex­claimed, “I’m sorry dad, I didn’t do it,” as his fa­ther walked to the wit­ness stand dur­ing the pun­ish­ment phase of his trial Thurs­day morn­ing. Smith was found guilty Wed­nes­day evening of first-de­gree mur­der in the death of 24-year-old Christo­pher Guil­beau by a jury of nine men and three women.

Fol­low­ing Smith’s out­burst, 202nd Dis­trict Judge John Tid­well re­moved the jury from the court­room and al­lowed Smith and his lawyer, Bruce Con­dit, time to con­fer. Tid­well ad­mon­ished Smith to main­tain his com­po­sure be­fore bring­ing the jury

back to the court­room.

Smith had never met Guil­beau be­fore the morn­ing of Feb. 23, 2015, ac­cord­ing to wit­ness tes­ti­mony. An ac­quain­tance of Smith’s, Devonte Evans, rode with Guil­beau to an al­ley be­hind the apart­ment on Della Street in Texarkana, Texas, where Smith’s girl­friend lived. Evans had bummed cig­a­rettes from Guil­beau that morn­ing and Guil­beau had asked Evans if he would help him sell some metham­phetamine in ex­change for a cut of the prof­its.

Shamari New­ton, Smith’s for­mer girl­friend and co-de­fen­dant, Bran­don Brown, also a co-de­fen­dant, and Smith were in New­ton’s apart­ment when Evans knocked on the door and asked Smith if he was in­ter­ested in mak­ing such a pur­chase. Smith told Evans he’d be down in a minute. After Evans left, Smith asked Brown for his gun in New­ton’s pres­ence. Smith stuck the gun in his pants, walked down the stairs and took a seat in the truck be­hind Evans.

Smith pulled the gun in the truck and de­manded that Guil­beau give him what he had. New­ton, who heard the three shots Smith fired into Guil­beau, tes­ti­fied that later Smith told her he shot Guil­beau be­cause he moved. Evans said Smith yelled at Guil­beau be­fore each of three bullets left the .38 revolver. Guil­beau was shot once in the face and twice in the back.

His body was dis­cov­ered March 6, 2015, in a brushy area near New­ton’s apart­ment by Texarkana, Texas, po­lice. Guil­beau’s fam­ily re­ported him miss­ing the evening of March 4 to Texarkana, Ark., po­lice and the fol­low­ing day Guil­beau’s white Dodge truck was flagged in a na­tional data­base. Just over an hour after the truck was re­ported as wanted in con­nec­tion with a miss­ing per­son, Smith and Brown were stopped in the truck by po­lice in Tulsa, Okla.

As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Katie Carter pointed to Brown’s crim­i­nal past as ba­sis for a se­vere pun­ish­ment for Smith. Smith was con­victed as a ju­ve­nile in April 2012 of as­sault on a pub­lic ser­vant in Cooke County, Texas. While in the Texas Youth Com­mis­sion, Smith as­saulted a guard and was sent to adult prison. Smith had been free less than a year when he was ar­rested in Tulsa.

“At some point he is re­leased and he kills some­one, he kills Christo­pher Guil­beau,” Carter said. “He drug his body out of the truck and dumped him like he was trash.”

Smith’s lawyer, Bruce Con­dit of Texarkana, asked the jury to sen­tence Smith in such a way that he has an “in­cen­tive to bet­ter him­self and be­come a pro­duc­tive mem­ber of so­ci­ety.”

Shep­herd asked the jury to con­sider Guil­beau’s fam­ily, a large num­ber of whom sat through nu­mer­ous pre­trial hear­ings and Smith’s trial.

“Mar­quell’s fam­ily can visit him. Christo­pher Guil­beau’s fam­ily can­not visit with him and you know they would give any­thing they could to do that,” Shep­herd said. “He’s out nine months folks, he’s out nine months be­fore he takes the life of an­other hu­man be­ing…When you com­mit the most heinous crime, you have to pay a price for it.”



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