Court Cases I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

[UPDATE] Herring Gets Life for Texas Street Murder

By: Lanetra Bennett, Julie Montanaro, Candace Sweat Email
By: Lanetra Bennett, Julie Montanaro, Candace Sweat Email

UPDATED 9.12.2011

Marvin Smith's murder took place in March of last year and people who live in the area are sounding off about all the crime and violence taking place.

The latest shooting happened in April, where two victims were shot and a few hours later, another victim was shot a few blocks down the street.

"These young men need to think twice before they pull the trigger, think like you know, what life is going to be like after you shoot somebody or take a person's life," says Smith's Cousin Ebony Walker.

Back in April, TPD records showed 92 calls to the Texas Street area during a six month span. Among them, seven drug violations, three burglaries, three hit and runs, and two armed robberies.
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UPDATED 9.12.2011 5:45pm by Jill Chandler

Maurice Herring has been sentenced to life in prison for Texas Street murder.

Maurice Herring stood in front of the judge and told the crowd "only God can judge me."

Friends and family of Marvin Smith crowded the courtroom. A few of them spoke, and said that Herring showed no remorse for his actions that have shaken their family.

Adrian Allen is Smith's brother. He said, "I just wanted him to have compassion and mercy in his heart. He just didn't show any mercy or compassion. He was very cold."

Lotoya Wilson is Smith's cousin. She said, "He showed no remorse... smiling and laughing at us, and I don't think it was funny."

"I'm very happy I feel that Marvin got justice today. I'm also sad that I just had a son and ... his uncle... he will never meet his uncle," said Allen.

Smith's cousin read a letter to the judge from Smith's mother saying she couldn't appear in person because this has been too painful for her. She said she forgives Herring for what he did to her son.

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UPDATED 9.12.2011 4pm by Julie Montanaro

Maurice Herring was sentenced to life in prison for the March 2010 murder of Marvin Smith.

Herring told the judge "Only God can judge me" and said there is still no proof that he killed Smith.

Smith's mother sent a letter to the judge, saying she couldn't appear in person because this has been too painful for her. She said she forgives Herring for what he did to her son.

Yet other family members say Herring has never shown any remorse for the killing.
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UPDATED 9.12.2011 10:20am by Julie Montanaro

Maurice Herring is scheduled to be sentenced for the murder of Marvin Smith at 3 o'clock this afternoon.

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UPDATED 8-3-11 11:25pm By Candace Sweat

Maurice Herring shook his head in protest as the judge read the verdict.

"We the jury find the defendant, Maurice Herring, guilty as charged of murder in the first degree," said the judge.

He knew what that meant. It meant he'll spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Herring's mother nor his attorney wanted to comment, but Marvin Smith's mother did. Her son was the victim during the shooting.

"When the jury came back, I just felt it, that it was a guilty verdict.," said Bridgette Davis, Marvin Smith's mother.

Herring is convicted of shooting Smith back in March 2010 on Texas Street. Prosecutors say Herring was avenging his sister because he thought Smith had taken her marijuana.

In closing arguments, prosecutors painted a picture of premeditation, while the defense warned jurors not to convict if the state didn't prove Herring's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"It is the defendant, Maurice Hearing who should be found guilty as charged," said assistant state attorney, Stefanie Walters.

"The instruct you to decide in your mind whether the state has convinced you," said the defense attorney.

It took jurors about an hour and half to reach a decision. Both the victim's and defendant's mothers sat in silence after the verdict. One of them was very relieved.

"It's a bad feeling when your child is killed. I mean if it hasn't happened to you, you wouldn't know how it feels. But to get the actual killer and to have justice prevail, that's a good feeling," said Davis.

Herring's sentencing hearing is set for September 12th.
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UPDATED 8-3-11 6:45 p.m.

Jury finds Maurice Herring guilty of murdering Marvin Smith.

UPDATED 8.3.2011 4:57 p.m.

The jury is now deliberating.

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UPDATED 8.3.2011 3:30 by Julie Montanaro

Attorneys are now making their final arguments to the jury.

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UPDATED 8.3.2011 12:45 by Julie Montanaro

The state has rested its case in the murder trial of Maurice Herring.

The defense has started calling its witnesses.

The jury may begin deliberating later this afternoon.

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UPDATED 8.2.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man accused in a deadly shooting claims he didn't do it.

Maurice Herring is now on trial for murder. He says there was another man with means and motive to kill Marvin Smith.

Brittany Burton broke down in tears on the witness stand. She told jurors she heard a gun cock that night, grabbed her children and ran inside the nearest open door. This is what she saw next.

"Maurice shoot Marvin," Burton said.

"Did Marvin have anything in his hand?"

"No."

"What was he doing?"

"Holding his hands up and I guess trying to talk his way out of getting shot," Burton said.

Burton was wearing a jail jumpsuit and admits to committing her crimes herself. Though she can't remember what Maurice Herring was wearing that day, "I know his face," she said, "and I know what happened."

She pointed him out in court as he sat wearing a black suit.

Herring is accused of killing Smith March 17, 2010 at 2525 Texas Street. Prosecutors say he fired 11 times because he thought Smith stole his sister's money and marijuana.

Yet defense attorneys say Smith was in a fight with another man just minutes before the shooting. That man was Warren Jordan, who happened to be dating Herring's sister.

He claims Herring pulled the trigger too.

"Did you have a gun that night?" prosecutor Stephanie Walters asked.

"No, ma'am," Jordan said.

"Did you shoot the victim, Marvin Smith?"

"No, ma'am."

"Did you ask people to cover up for you?"

"No ma'am."

Testimony will resume Wednesday morning and the case could go to a jury sometime Thursday.

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UPDATED 8.2.2011 by Julie Montanaro

Warren Jordan flat out denies that he shot Marvin Smith.

Jordan says he and Smith got into a fight at a house on Dozier Street just minutes before Smith was shot to death.

Jordan testified that he and Smith came to blows and at one point he had Smith in a chokehold. He says Smith denied taking any money or drugs from Jordan's girlfriend, Victoria Herring.

Jordan says friends broke up the fight and Smith left.

Jordan says he did go to Texas Street afterward and that's when he says he saw Maurice Herring shoot Smith.

Yet on cross examination, defense attorneys tried to suggest Jordan changed his story. They pointed to a deposition in which they say Jordan claimed he went to Texas Street to "fight."
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[UPDATE] August 2, 2011 Noon - by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is now on trial for a deadly shooting in a crowded parking lot. The murder trial of Maurice Herring is now underway in courtroom 3G.

Testimony this morning indicates Marvin Smith may have been killed in a dispute over $50 worth of marijuana.

Maurice Herring is accused of firing the deadly shot. Prosecutors contend he fired 11 times at close range. One of the first witnesses on the stand was Marvin Smith's friend Matishea James. She says Smith was upset because someone accused him of stealing pot from Maurice Herring's sister. She said as soon as they walked outside her apartment, she got a bad feeling in her stomach and then heard the gun pop.

Another witness testified she saw the whole thing and that Herring pulled the trigger, but the defense claims it was another man who had argued with Marvin Smith just moments before the shooting.

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[UPDATE] August 2, 2011 10:45am - by Julie Montanaro

Brittany Burton testified that she and her children were on the playground when the shooting took place.

Burton sobbed on the stand when she described seeing Herring shoot Smith. Burton said she heard the gun cock and then grabbed her children and ran into the nearest open door. Burton says she looked out the window and clearly saw Herring shoot Smith multiple times.

She pointed to Herring in court as the man who shot Smith.

She told the defense attorney she does not remember what Herring was wearing that day, "but I know his face and i know what happened," she said.

Burton testified in a blue jail jumpsuit and admitted on the stand that she has been convicted of 22 crimes.

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[UPDATE] August 2, 2011 10:30am by Julie Montanaro

Mattishea James, whom friends call Titi, says Marvin Smith was upset and pacing in her living room just minutes before he was murdered. James said she had just walked outside with Smith when she heard Victoria Herring's voice. "I got a bad feeling in my stomach and then I heard the gun cock," she said.

James said she put her head down and ran.

James said she found the drugs that Victoria Herring claimed Smith stole on a shelf in the hall about a week later.

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[UPDATE] August 2, 2011 10am by Julie Montanaro

Tallahassee Police Officer Tyesha Gates is on the stand. Gates says she initially responded to a report of shots fired on Dozier Street but within minutes heard gunshots on Texas Street.

Gates says when she got there she found a man lying on his back in front of building G. She said he had three gunshots to his chest. Gates said there were about 50 people standing around the body.

TPD Officer Robert Wyche says he checked the man's pulse and it was faint. Wyche says he then went to get his medic bag, ripped the man's shirt open and saw what looked like three gunshots to his chest.

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[UPDATE] 8-2 9:50am - by Julie Montanaro

The murder trial of Maurice Herring is now underway in courtroom 3G.

Prosecutors say there are several eyewitnesses who saw Herring shoot Marvin Smith. One woman says she heard 11 shots.

Prosecutors say Herring shot Smith because Herring's sister claimed Smith stole her money and marijuana. Prosecutors say the drugs in question were later found in her apartment. "Marvin Smith didn't rob her and he didn't deserve to die," the prosecutor said.

Defense attorneys claim another man was at the scene that night and had a motive to kill Smith. He claims Smith was in a physical confrontation with that man less than 30 minutes before the shooting.

The fight and shooting were over 50 dollars worth of pot, the defense attorney said.

The defense attorney also says that man had a 40 caliber gun and "the weapon that killed Marvin Smith was a 40 caliber."

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UPDATED 8.1.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man will stand trial this week for a deadly dispute.

Maurice Herring is accused of killing 31 year old Marvin Smith last spring.

Smith was gunned down on Texas Street March 17, 2010.

Tallahassee Police called it a drug-related shooting.

Herring was arrested a week later.

Testimony in his murder trial begins Tuesday morning.

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UPDATED

Press Release from the Tallahassee Police Department:

On Wednesday, March 17, 2010, at approximately 8:00pm, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to 2525 Texas Street (Sunrise Apartments) in reference to gunshots being heard. Upon arrival, officers discovered 31-year-old Marvin Smith lying on the ground in front of one of the buildings. Smith had been shot several times and later succumbed to his injuries.

Initially, Investigators had little information about the motive of the shooting, but soon received information from citizens that lead to the suspect. Investigator April Doubrava from the Tallahassee Police Department's Violent Crimes Unit conducted numerous interviews, eventually obtaining enough evidence to obtain a warrant for the arrest of 30-year-old Maurice Herring.

Working closely with the State's Attorney's Office, Investigator Doubrava discovered that Herring and Smith knew each other. The two men are believed to have had a disagreement over illegal drugs, which lead to the shooting. On March 18, 2010, Herring turned himself in at the jail on an unrelated drug charge because he failed to appear in court. Unbeknownst to Herring, Investigator Doubrava continues to obtain evidence while he was in jail and officially charged him with the murder of Marvin Smith today.

Arrest Information:

Maurice Terrell Herring, Black, Male, 8-28-86; Charge- 1st Degree Murder

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UDPATED 3.19.10 6:40pm

There are still no suspects and no motive in a shooting that left a Tallahassee man dead.

31 year old Marvin Smith was shot and killed Wednesday night.

Tallahassee Police say it happened just before 8:00 near building G at the Sunrise Place Apartments on Texas Street.

A Tallahassee Police spokesman says Smith was likely the intended target of the shooting and there were several witnesses.

Police say they are following leads, but have no firm motive or suspects yet.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 850-574-TIPS.

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Updated 6:10 p.m. 3-18

Family and friends continue mourning loss of a Tallahassee man shot and killed Wednesday night.

Police are still investigating, as those who knew him speak out.

Adrian Allen says every time he closed his eyes Wednesday night, he saw his brother. But, what he kept replaying in his head at bedtime was not a dream, but a nightmare that he'd just lived.

Allen said, "Someone came and got me and told me my brother was shot. I came out here and seen him. I knelt down by him and talked to him. I asked him to hold on and fight and said, brother, I love you."

His brother, 31-year-old Marvin Smith, Jr., was shot and killed.

Tallahassee Police say it happened just before 8:00 Wednesday night near building G at the Sunrise Place Apartments at 2525 Texas Street.

Police say at this time they don't know the motive, which leaves nearby residents, like Willie Cleveland, on edge.

"It's real bad. They need to just do something about it. It's time to slow down the violence around here." Said, Cleveland.

Smith's friends made a makeshift memorial at the complex Thursday, which allowed loved ones to sign a sympathy card, leave a donation for the family, and express their feelings about his death.

Smith's cousin, Paradise Kimble, said, "I was sad. I don't think they should've shot him because what they shot him for, they shouldn't have shot him for that. That was my cousin and I love him to death."

Allen said, "Hopefully police will do their job. We provided them with information and other people have stepped up. Hopefully we can catch the person who done this."

Smith's friends and loved ones are holding a candlelight vigil Thursday night at 7 at the Sunrise Place Apartments.

Police are still looking for whoever shot Smith. They say are following all possible leads.

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Updated 2:35p.m 3-18

Tallahassee Police have identified the victim of the shooting to be 31-year-old Marvin C. Smith Jr. (D.O.B- 1/19/79).

Police have classified his death as a homicide.

We will bring you more information as soon as it becomes available.
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Updated 8:08a.m 3-18

One man is dead after gunshots ring out at a Tallahassee apartment complex.

Police responded to a report of shots fired, just before 8p.m Wednesday.

When they arrived at 2525 Texas Street, they found a black man who had been shot in the parking lot outside Building G at Sunrise Place Apartments, formerly known as Holifield Arms Apartments.

A group was crowded around him.

The man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Tallahassee police are asking anyone who may have seen anything to give them a call at 850-891-4200.

We will have more information as soon as it becomes available.
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Police said around 7: 55 p.m. they responded to a call about shots fired.

When they arrived at the apartment complex on Texas Street, they found a single black male with a large crowd around him. He was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Officials said the suspect is still on the loose.

Police are still on scene, investigating the crime.

We have a reporter on the scene and will provide more information as it becomes available.


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