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Man receives 35-year sentence in 2016 Longview shooting death

Megan Hix

By Megan Hix
Nov. 29, 2017 at 10:34 a.m.
Updated Nov. 29, 2017 at 6:25 p.m.

Brenndrick Lilly during his trial for the 2016 murder of Devin Newson, on Tuesday November 28, 2017, in the 124th District Court at the Gregg County Courthouse. (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)

UPDATE: A man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday morning after pleading guilty to murder in the 2016 shooting death of a Longview man.

Brenndrick Kesean Lilly, 22, was sentenced at around 10 a.m. on what was set to be the second day of his trial. Lilly was sentenced in the death of Devin Newson, 20, who was killed May 23, 2016, after a robbery set up to look like a drug deal escalated into murder.

Lilly will plead guilty to aggravated robbery charges from the same incident next week, 124th District Judge Alfonso Charles said. He is expected to receive a 20-year sentence on that charge, which he will serve concurrently with the murder sentence

The plea deal means Lilly forfeits his right to appeal the sentence. He will become eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence and will also be given credit for the 16 months he’s served in jail leading up to this week’s trial.

“You will get out, realistically, one day and you will have the chance to still be a productive member of society,” Charles told Lilly. “I hope you take advantage of the opportunity you have.”

Kentrell Jorail Smith, 21, and Kambresha Shante Williams, 22, both of Longview also are charged with murder in Newson’s death. Both are awaiting trial in Gregg County Jail.

Newson met with Lilly, Smith and Williams at a Food Fast convenience store near Interstate 20 for what he thought was a late-night drug deal, according to an arrest warrant. The trio intended to steal drugs and money from Newson, but after a struggle for the gun, he was fatally shot, according to the warrant. Williams later told officers she was “forced” to set up the drug deal, the warrant says.

Members of the victim’s family approved of the plea deal, and several friends and family members who had gathered to watch Wednesday’s testimony cried as Assistant District Attorney Chris Botto delivered a statement on behalf of Newson’s mother.

“The family will continue on with heavy hearts and extreme pain, because they will not get to experience the man Devin could have become,” Botto said. “That was taken away from them with one careless act... Words cannot describe what they are going through.”

Botto said two of those charged in Newson’s death were his friends; the other was an acquaintance.

Charles told members of the jury, who had expected the trial to last all week, that the plea agreement was reached earlier Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors called seven witnesses to testify Tuesday, the first day of Lilly’s trial. Several Longview police officers recalled responding to the scene of Newson’s car crash, as well as the injuries they saw when they arrived. Two investigators testified about finding Lilly’s fingerprints on Newson’s vehicle and other evidence.

Newson attempted to drive away after being shot, but ultimately crashed his vehicle into a metal storage building north of the Food Fast, according to an arrest warrant.

Officer Eric Harkins said Newson likely was unconscious during the wreck, and he was dead when the officer arrived at the scene.

“There was no doubt he was shot,” Harkins said. “(The wound) wasn’t from a car wreck.”

Charles said he hoped Newson’s family gets “some measure of justice” from Lilly’s sentencing.

Trial dates for Smith and Williams have not been set.

Williams was found incompetent to stand trial in April due to being unable to testify on her own behalf, unable to understand the “adversarial nature of the criminal proceedings against her” and unable to to make her own legal choices. She has not yet been transported for treatment, but will receive up to 120 days of treatment at a “maximum security unit,” according to court documents.

PREVIOUS: A man was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday morning after pleading guilty to murder in the 2016 shooting death of a Longview man.

Brenndrick Kesean Lilly, 22, was sentenced at around 10 a.m. on what was set to be the second day of his trial. Lilly was sentenced in the death of Devin Newson, who was killed on May 23, 2016, after a robbery set up to look like a drug deal escalated into murder.

Lilly will plead guilty to aggravated robbery from the same incident next week, 124th District Judge Alfonso Charles said. Lilly is expected to receive a 20-year sentence on that charge, which he will serve concurrently with the murder sentence

The plea deal means Lilly forfeits his right to appeal the sentence. He will become eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence and will also be given credit for the time he’s served in jail leading up to this week’s trial.

Kentrell Jorail Smith, 21, and Kambresha Shante Williams, 22, both of Longview are also charged with murder in Newson’s death. Both are awaiting trial in Gregg County Jail.

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