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November 29, 2012

Not guilty plea in 2007 capital murder

GREENVILLE — A former Commerce resident has pleaded not guilty to an indictment of capital murder, involving a shooting death in Greenville five years ago.

George Washington Sharper and Markus Ladane Stephenson are alleged to have shot and killed David Olivares at a residence on Henderson Street.

Sharper was arraigned and entered the not guilty plea during a Wednesday hearing in the 196th District Court. Judge Steve Tittle accepted the plea and scheduled an interim hearing for Jan. 23, 2013.

Stephenson previously pleaded not guilty to the charge and has an interim hearing set for December 10.

Neither defendant has a trial date set in the case.

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

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 pair were previously charged five years ago in connection with an armed hold-up in Commerce.

 Sharper and Stevenson were among three people arrested on the night of July 23, 2007 after a report of an armed robbery in the 2500 block of Solomon Drive in Commerce, during which eight pairs of athletic shoes and three rings were stolen at gunpoint. Shoes, rings, two handguns and 11 baggies of what was believed to be crack cocaine were found later that evening inside the vehicle in which they were riding. Stephenson was also alleged to have threatened a female victim with a handgun while sexually assaulting her.

Under a plea bargain arrangement, Stephenson was later sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing the cocaine.

Sharper was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges, including the robbery.

Capital murder carries an automatic sentence upon conviction of either life in prison without parole or death by lethal injection.

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.

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