Trial to begin in death of Upshur County musician
Jan. 8, 2018 at 12:14 a.m.
GILMER — Jury selection is today in Gilmer for the second of four suspects in the March 2017 murder of a young musician whom a family member described as the last soul anyone should have targeted for robbery.
"It was such a senseless death," Marcus Curlin of Pittsburg said of the March 28 murder of Kendrick LeMichael "Poof" Jackson, 29.
"Those people that tried to rob him, all they had to do was ask him, and he'd have given it to them," Curlin said. "I think that's what cost him his life, is being so nice to so many people."
Four people were charged in Jackson's death, which occurred at the home of his late mother in the LaFayette community in far northern Upshur County, where he lived.
One of them, Xavier Keishawn Mumphrey, 19, of Kilgore, pleaded guilty in December and awaits sentencing.
While jurors will be seated today in the 115th District Court in Gilmer, a previously special-set civil trial this week will push the murder trial of Decorian Quantez Robbins, 19, of Lone Star, to Jan. 16.
Judge Lauren Parish will preside.
District Attorney Billy Byrd said the trial is likely to last three or fewer days. Robbins was charged with murder under the Texas law of parties, which makes all who participate in planning or executing a crime equally liable. The law can even apply to people who accompany others to commit a crime.
The other two, Devontay Hunter of Lone Star and Alize Sharda McFall of Kilgore, both 20, await trial dates.
"The four of them had a plan and a target to go see Kendrick Jackson this particular day," Byrd said. "And the intent was to rob him, and in that process, we believe they intended on killing him all along."
The district attorney sounded confident in his case.
"We know who the shooter was," he said. "We know that more than one firearm was on the scene, and we know all four participated and planned this robbery and ultimate murder. They all encouraged, aided, solicited and conspired for this murder to occur."
Jackson's funeral was conducted in the Pittsburg High School auditorium because his church could not accommodate the anticipated crowd of mourners. A sousaphone player in the Pirate band, he was an outgoing man who ran a T-shirt enterprise and sold rap lyrics to musicians — enterprises that took him to New York City in his few forays from LaFayette.
"Oh, man. I would say more than 1,000 people (came), for sure," Curlin said of the funeral services. "He had a lot of friends, people that he knew in New York came, also. He was just a smart, brilliant, young-minded, energetic kid."