TEXARKANA, Texas -- A Texas appellate court has affirmed the murder conviction and life sentence of a man convicted last year of killing a 16-year-old boy in 2020.
Demarius Dejuan Taylor, 22, was found guilty in May 2021 by a Bowie County jury and sentenced to life in prison in the March 31, 2020, shooting death of Notoryous Crabtree. Demarius Taylor's sister, Bosnia Taylor, 23, was sentenced to 18 years for aggravated assault earlier this month as part of a plea bargain.
Bosnia Taylor testified against her brother.
She told the jury in May 2021 that she believed she had been struck by a man during a "girl fight" earlier in the day in Texarkana, Arkansas, and enlisted the aid of her brother. That night, Bosnia Taylor, Demarius Taylor and a group of about eight men traveled in two SUVs to Meadowbrook Lane where Notoryous' 15-year-old cousin lived with her family.
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Notoryous, his parents and his siblings were at the Meadowbrook home visiting along with other members of the Crabtrees' extended family when the Taylors and their friends arrived. While Notoryous' uncle, Ralph Crabtree, and his father, Donald Crabtree, did their best to keep things peaceful and encourage an end to the situation, there was some fighting on the street.
The SUVs were on Meadowbrook for less than five minutes. Witnesses testified that the fighting was over when Demarius Taylor pointed his gun in the direction where Notoryous was standing next to his father. A single shot was fired and Notoryous collapsed onto the pavement.
He died in his father's arms in front of family, including children, and friends.
On appeal, Demarius Taylor argued that the trial court should have granted his request to delay the trial so his defense team could locate a witness they argued was the real shooter. In a hearing prior to the trial, Demarius Taylor's mother testified that a man who had been in the car with him at the time of the shooting had sent her text messages stating he was sorry.
The man had been identified as present at the time of the shooting by police and Demarius Taylor's mother could provide no reason other than his text message for believing he was the trigger man. A defense investigator was unable to locate the man, and 202nd District Judge John Tidwell denied the motion for a delay in the trial.
The 6th Court of Appeals in Texarkana agreed with Tidwell, finding that there was not sufficient evidence presented to show that the man's testimony, had he been present, would have impacted the outcome of the case. The higher court also found several other criteria were not met by the defense when arguing for a continuance.
Demarius Taylor is currently being held in the Coffield Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Tennessee Colony, Texas.