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February 18, 2013

Guilty plea in 2007 murder

GREENVILLE — One of two defendants charged with capital murder in connection with a 2007 shooting death in Greenville has entered a guilty plea and has been sentenced to prison.

Markus Ladane Stephenson pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of murder, during a hearing Monday in the 196th District Court. Under a plea bargain arrangement, Stephenson was sentenced to 60 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division, with credit for the more than four years he has already served in prison.

As a deadly weapon was found to have been used in the commission of the offense, Stephenson, 24, will have to spend about 26 more years in custody before he can be considered eligible for parole.

Stephenson and George Washington Sharper were each indicted on one count of capital murder. Both had pleaded not guilty.

Sharper has an interim hearing scheduled in the court on March 13, but does not yet have a trial date set.

Stephenson and Sharper were alleged in the indictments to have shot and killed David Olivares at a residence on Henderson Street.

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.

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