Category Archives: Murder

TX AG FAU Takes Down Child Predator Fugitives, Violent Fugitive For Murder

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TX AG Fugitive Apprehension Unit Roundsup 2 Child Predators and a Fugitive on TX DPS Top 10 Most Wanted.

AG Paxton’s Law Enforce­ment Round Up

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.

In Harris County, Leonard Dee Taylor was arrested in Houston on July 23 for failing to comply with his mandated sex offender registration requirements, and a corresponding warrant for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration Requirements issued in 2018 out of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.  Taylor was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender List in May of 2019.  In 2003, Taylor was convicted of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in Bowie County and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.  This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Service, Gulf Coast Violent Offender and Fugitive Task Force, and assisted by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

In Smith County, Dakevian Benoit Scroggins was arrested in Tyler on July 24 on outstanding warrants for Capitol Murder issued by the Tyler Police Department and Evading Arrest issued by the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.  Scroggins was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top 10 Most Wanted in July of 2021.  In 2014, Scroggins was convicted of Prohibited Weapon in Smith County and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.  This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, along with the Tyler Police Department and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.

In Wharton County, Francisco Avalos was arrested in Louise on three outstanding warrants for Sexual Assault of a Child, Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography and Online Solicitation of a Minor issued by the Victoria County 377th District Court.  This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force out of Victoria.

After 2015 Sexual Assault, Murder Of Jourdin A’Legacy Smith, Justice Served

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Jamarkus Smith, 31, was found guilty of first-degree murder, taking indecent liberties with a child, intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, felonious child abuse and two counts of sex offense with a child by an adult in the death of his daughter, Jourdin A’Legacy Smith.

Parents sent to prison in 2015 Fayetteville slaying, sex assault of 3-year-old daughter

Cumberland County, NC  –  A Fayetteville mother and father were sent to prison Monday for the 2015 sexual abuse and death of their malnourished 3-year-old daughter.

After a week of testimony and just over four hours of deliberation, a Cumberland County jury found Jamarkus Smith, 31, guilty of first-degree murder, taking indecent liberties with a child, intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, felonious child abuse and two counts of sex offense with a child by an adult in the death of his daughter, Jourdin A’Legacy Smith.

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Octavia Bennett-Smith, 32, a former Fort Bragg Army sergeant, pleaded guilty in December 2019.

Jourdin’s mother and Smith’s wife, Octavia Bennett-Smith, 32, a former Fort Bragg Army sergeant, pleaded guilty in December 2019.

Testimony in Smith’s trial began July 19, with closing arguments on Friday.

Following the jury verdict, Smith professed his innocence when he addressed the court before sentencing.

“I showed them I was innocent,” he said.  “They know I’m innocent, and you know I’m innocent.  Everybody here knows.  How is that right?  At what point is the legal system about justice?”

No statements were made on behalf of Jourdin before Judge Claire Hill sentenced Smith to life imprisonment for the murder and a combined 25 to 35 years for the other charges. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Smith’s attorney, Kris Poppe, said his client plans to appeal the verdict.

As Smith was escorted from the courtroom Monday, he turned to two women in the gallery who appeared to be there on his behalf and said, “I didn’t do it.”

“I know you didn’t baby,” one of the women said.  “He didn’t do that.  I don’t care what nobody says.  He didn’t do it.”

According to the child’s autopsy report, the cause of death was pneumonia in the setting of malnutrition, neglect and sexual abuse.   She weighed just 28 pounds at the time of her death, and her body and genitals were riddled with lacerations and contusions, the report said.

Bennett-Smith’s sentencing came some 30 minutes after her husband’s.

Her defense attorney, Antonio Gerald, called Jourdin’s death a tragedy.

Gerald said that Bennett-Smith accepted responsibility for her role in Jourdin’s death and “agreed to testify and assist in any way to help bring justice for Jourdin.”

Bennett-Smith did not speak during the hearing but cried as she was sentenced to a minimum term 10 years, five months, and a maximum of 13 years, six months for the second-degree murder charge.

The judge declined Gerald’s request for a consolidated sentence and instead stacked the sentence for the other charges.

For the child abuse and sexual assault charges, she received a consecutive minimum sentence of four years, four months, and a maximum of more than 10 years in prison.  She will be required to register as a sex offender for 30 years after release.

The judge also recommended a psychological evaluation for Bennett-Smith.

Gerald said that the court heard during her testimony at Smith’s trial that she was also a victim of assault as a child.

“These are not excuses for her actions of what she has pled guilty to, but only to shed some light as to what may have led her to be in this courtroom today,” he said.

TX AG FAU Stop Female Child Predator And 3 More Fugitives

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TX AG Fugitive Apprehension Unit Stop Female Child Predator, Violent Fugitives

AG Paxton’s Law Enforcement Round Up

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week:

In Dallas County, Jorge Antonio Cervantes was arrested in Dallas on July 21, on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault issued by the Waxahachie Police Department.

In Bexar County, Nicole Kristina Clayton was arrested in San Antonio on July 16, on an outstanding warrant for Sex Offense Against Child Fondling – Felony Indecency with a Child/Sexual Contact issued by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.  This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of San Antonio.

In Travis County, Milo Cortez Douglas was arrested in Austin on July 19, on an outstanding warrant for Murder issued by the Austin Police Department.  This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.

In Dallas County, Facundo Dario Araya was arrested in Irving on July 20, on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault of a Child issued by the Wise County Sheriff’s Office.

TX Attorney General’s Units Keeping Texas Safe

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General LogoAG Paxton’s Law Enforcement Round Up

AUSTIN, TX  –  The Texas Attorney General’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.

  • In Travis County, while working with the United States Marshal’s Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested Christopher Michael Garcia in Austin on February 23.  Garcia had an outstanding warrant for murder issued by the Austin Police Department.
  • In Ellis County, Brandon Douglas Wilder was arrested in Midlothian on February 23.  Wilder had an outstanding warrant for Indecency with a Child Sexual Contact issued by the Midlothian Police Department.
  • In Smith County, while working with the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested Jordan Syncere Hankins in Tyler on February 23.  Hankins had an outstanding warrant for Aggravated Robbery issued by the Tyler Police Department.

The Texas Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Unit made one arrest in relation to sexual assault of a child.

  • In San Patricio County, Gabriel Gonzales, 56, of Mathis was arrested on a sexual assault of a child warrant.  This case was received as a tip from the Polaris National Hotline, as well as a request for assistance by the Mathis Police Department.  During the investigation, it was determined that in 2020, Gonzales sexually assaulted a child in Mathis.  Gonzales was taken into custody without incident and was transported to the San Patricio County Jail with a $40,000 bond.

MO Man Charged With Murder And Child Abuse

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Ying Su and her granddaughter Grace, 2, stand Tuesday in front of the Boone County Courthouse.

Elledge murder and child abuse cases
involve 40 witnesses

COLUMBIA, MO  –  At a status hearing for murder suspect Joseph Elledge on Friday, the state filed motions to endorse 40 witnesses for multiple charges against the defendant.

Elledge, 24, is charged with first-degree murder as well as unrelated charges for child abuse, child endangerment and third-degree domestic assault.  He’s accused of killing his wife, Mengqi Ji, in October of 2019.

Over the course of the missing person investigation into his wife’s disappearance, police found evidence of bruising on Elledge and Ji’s daughter.  The state also argued Elledge endangered the welfare of the child by separating her from her mother.

On Friday, the state asked that 23 witnesses in the murder case and 17 in the child abuse case be endorsed.

Ji’s body has not been found.

As previously reported by the Missourian, Columbia police recently resumed the search, continuing the excavation of a levee in the Lamine River, where investigators have said they have reason to believe Ji’s body might be found.

Boone County Chief Prosecutor Dan Knight said the trial could take up to a month, because of delays related to COVID-19 and translating witness testimony.  Many of the witnesses called to testify speak Chinese.

In another layer of complication for the case, processes for selecting and impaneling jurors have become protracted because of reduced occupancy limits in courtrooms and the need for safe social distance.

No trial date has been set.  A bond hearing was scheduled for Nov. 30, and Knight said at that point the court may have a better idea when the trial will begin.