The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

December 29, 2012

Six murder cases pending in county

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — There are six murder cases pending in Hunt County, five of which involve capital murder charges.

At least three of the indicted capital murder cases could carry the death penalty upon the conviction of the defendants charged. One case, involving a November stabbing death in Commerce, has not yet been indicted.

— A Greenville man is charged with capital murder in connection with the shooting death of his ex-wife in July 2011.

Prosecutors have announced they intend to seek death by lethal injection as a punishment for Micah Crofford Brown, should he be convicted of capital murder. Brown, 33, has pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder involving the death of Stella Michelle “Doc” Ray.

Brown is currently facing a March 28, 2013 trial  in the 354th District Court.

Brown remains in custody at the Hunt County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bond. Authorities say Brown has confessed to shooting Ray, 36, of Greenville on the night of July 20, 2011 as the two argued over a custody dispute.

The capital murder indictment alleges Brown committed the murder while also committing family violence and “in the course of committing or attempting to commit terroristic threat.”

— Two Campbell residents, charged with capital murder in connection with the death last summer of a 2 year-old child, are also facing trial next year.

The Hunt County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty for Gabriela Ortiz and Arturo Aguilar Vega Jr.,, should they be convicted of capital murder involving the death of Brandon Herrera.

Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Vega currently has jury selection set for May 15, 2013, with Ortiz’s trial scheduled for September 5, 2013.

Ortiz and Vega remain in custody at the Hunt County Jail, each in lieu of $2 million bond.

Documents released in the case show both Ortiz and Vega admitting to having caused injuries to Herrera prior to his July 18, 2011 death.

The indictments issued by the Hunt County grand jury allege Herrera either died as the result of blunt force trauma, choking/strangling or smothering.

— Trial dates have not yet been set for two men indicted on capital murder charges involving a 2007 shooting death in Greenville.

George Washington Sharper and Markus Ladane Stephenson are alleged in the indictments to shot and killed David Olivares at a residence on Henderson Street. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Stephenson, formerly of Greenville and Sharper, formerly of Commerce, remain in custody at the Hunt County Jail.

The indictments allege the pair murdered Olivares on or about June 29, 2007 while in the course of committing a burglary of a habitation or robbery.

At approximately 11:20 p.m. that night, officers with the Greenville Police Department received a call of a shooting at 3408 Henderson Street. Olivares, 32, had been shot once in the upper right chest and died as the result of his wound.

Several people lived in the house and claimed that Olivares was sitting in the living room, which had a glass door on one side and was shot from outside, through the door.

Two fires later occurred at the house, including one in September 2007 which destroyed the residence.

Olivares’ death was one of three homicides reported locally between June 29 and July 1, 2007.

The Hunt County District Attorney’s Office has not yet announced whether it intends to seek the death penalty for the defendants if they are convicted of capital murder.

— Myeisha Simone Garcia, 20 of Commerce, remains in custody at the Hunt County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond on one count of murder involving the November 28 death of Jamal Stanton, 20, of Greenville.

Stanton died of a stab wound to the upper left torso. According to a report from the Commerce Police Department, Stanton was involved in an altercation at a Commerce apartment complex.

At 12:32 a.m. on November 28, officers responded to a call from Hunt Regional Community Hospital advising of a stabbing victim that had been brought into the emergency room. Hospital personnel performed life saving measures, but were unable to revive Stanton.

Garcia has not yet been indicted in connection with the murder.