Panola County prosecutors wait for DNA testing as double homicide case nears tentatively-set trial date

From right, Cordarius D’Shun Thompson, Mose Dandrew Smith and Cartrell Oshae Dewayne Williamson were charged along with Marlon Kelly in the deaths of two Panola County residents in July 2017.

CARTHAGE — Sentences have been handed down for three other Bossier City defendants accused in a 2017 shooting in Panola County that killed two people and injured a third.

Cordarius Thompson, 22, and Cartrell Williamson, 26, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon this week in the 123rd District Court in Panola County.

Mose Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon this past week.

The three, along with Marlon Kelly, were charged in connection with the shooting deaths of Shayla Carson, 18, and Dalton Berry, 21, as well as the nonfatal shooting of a third man at a home in the DeBerry and Bethany area of Panola County in July 2017. Court testimony and statements from prosecutors have detailed the shooting as a result of a drug deal gone wrong.

All four men involved in the case struck plea deals with prosecutors.

Kelly, identified as the shooter by prosecutors, had pleaded guilty in November and was sentenced to 20 years for each of two murder counts and 10 years for the aggravated assault count. Smith pleaded guilty this past week and was sentenced to seven years for each of two murder counts and five years for the aggravated assault count.

Thompson’s sentence was four years for the aggravated assault case and six years for each of the two murder counts. Williamson received four years for the aggravated assault case and five years for each of the two murder counts.

All sentences for each of the men are to be served concurrently, meaning at the same time. All four men received credit for time served since their arrests.

Williamson, on the stand, testified Wednesday that Marlon Kelly asked to be driven to a DeBerry address so he could buy marijuana. Williamson said they later picked up Cordarius Thompson and Mose Smith on the way.

Williamson said Wednesday that, until they were on the road to DeBerry, he did not know that Kelly had no money and was planning a “smash and run” robbery or that Thompson and Smith were carrying guns in addition to Kelly.

While entering their guilty pleas, Thompson and Williamson were asked to specify the guns each man had used; District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson said after the hearing this was to ensure testimony could be linked to the evidence gained in the investigation.

Thompson and Williamson described how Kelly got out of the car and went out of view between two trailers with a man once they arrived at the DeBerry address. Thompson described hearing gunshots and getting out of the car to see what was going on — he testified he then saw a girl on the ground and a door swinging shut as someone went inside — before he also heard gunshots coming from the direction of their car.

Thompson identified Kelly as the first shooter and said he thought Smith was responsible for the other gunshots, although he said he didn’t see what was happening at the car because at that point he was behind the trailer.

When asked, Thompson said he was not sure how many shots Kelly fired.

“I’m not exactly sure, but he emptied the whole gun,” Thompson said.

Williamson remained in the car the entire time and testified he did not hear the first round of shots. Williamson said Thompson and Smith got out of the car, and then he later heard other gunshots as someone was running into the woods and then a gunshot after Thompson went around the trailer.

Williamson said Kelly came back to the car, scared and with a backpack full of marijuana and a gun in his hand. Kelly threw up in the car after getting back and sitting down in the front passenger seat of the car, Thompson and Williamson testified.

“I believe I killed someone” is what Williamson said Kelly remarked when he got inside the car. On the way back to Shreveport, Williamson told the court that the men discussed keeping the crime to themselves.

“Everything that happened today got to stay to ourselves” and “If one go down, we all go down,” Williamson recalled.

Thompson testified that he only got an ounce of marijuana after they got back to Shreveport and divvied up the drugs. Williamson testified that each of the four received an equal amount of the pound of marijuana that Kelly took from the robbery.

Both Thompson and Williamson testified about an assault rifle that was taken from the DeBerry address; Special Prosecutor Rick Berry said they believe the gun was a trophy taken from the scene.

“I do apologize for what happened,” Thompson told family members on Wednesday. Williamson, too, apologized, saying he wished he could make it so that the shooting never happened.

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