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story.lead_photo.caption Lamarya Bradley

A local woman pleaded not guilty to murder Tuesday in the death of her boyfriend earlier this year.

Lamarya Rachelle Bradley, also known as "Margie," appeared with Assistant Public Defender Deborah Moore for arraignment Tuesday afternoon before 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison in a first-floor courtroom of the Bi-State Justice Building in downtown Texarkana.

Bradley, 54, was arrested March 1 by Texarkana, Texas, police in the death of Willis Hart Sanders, 62. Sanders was found dead in his apartment in the 2100 block of West 10th Street when his landlord went to investigate a foul odor.

Moore entered a plea of not guilty to the murder and Addison set the case for a pretrial hearing Aug. 6. Assistant District Attorney Randle Smolarz told the court that evidence is undergoing testing at the state crime lab. Smolarz said his office will request a trial setting once reports detailing the lab's findings have been received by the state.

Moore said she has filed a motion for a reduction in Bradley's $1 million bail. Smolarz said the state opposes any reduction and asked the court to set the matter for a hearing.

Meanwhile Bradley remains in Bowie County custody.

Sanders' decomposing body was discovered face-up in a large puddle of blood, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Investigators noted a large gash on the back of Sanders' head before sending the body to the Dallas medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Crime scene investigators found a bloody brick inside of a light-colored pillowcase as well as bloody shirts in the apartment. Sanders' neighbors told police they'd last seen him Feb. 19 in the company of a woman they knew as "Margie."

They said her real name was Lamarya Bradley.

Bradley, 54, was found by a police officer that night and agreed to meet with Texarkana, Texas, detectives. Bradley alleged that she met Sanders about nine or 10 days before his death and that they walked to EZ Pawn to get movies.

Bradley said the two consumed alcohol together at Sanders' apartment afterward.

Bradley alleges that Sanders became upset and threw a glass whiskey bottle at the wall near her and would not allow her to leave the apartment. Bradley said Sanders choked her and that he was sitting on top of her on the floor when she reached for a brick she knew was under the bed.

Bradley reportedly told investigators that she pushed Sanders off after hitting him in the head with the brick. Sanders was no longer moving or talking after being struck with the brick, according to the affidavit.

"She advised that she put the brick in the pillowcase under the bed and also used a shirt to wipe up the blood on the victim," the affidavit states. "Bradley stated she also put another shirt under his neck to stop the bleeding."

Bradley allegedly left the apartment without calling for help.

Court records show Bradley was arrested Dec. 13 by Texarkana, Texas, police for assault with bodily injury, family violence, and released Dec. 22 on a $5,000 bond. Members of Sanders' family who attended Bradley's arraignment hearing Tuesday said Bradley's arrest in December involved Sanders.

If found guilty of murder, Bradley faces five to 99 years or life in prison.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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