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Jury trial scheduled for man charged alongside brother in 2017 New Boston murder

by Lori Dunn | March 17, 2023 at 2:15 p.m.
LaPrense Willis

NEW BOSTON, Texas -- An April jury trial date is scheduled for a man charged with murder in a 2017 shooting death that allegedly also involved his brother and cousin.

LaPrense Willis, 48, is scheduled for a pretrial this week in Bowie County 5th District Court, according to court records. He is scheduled for a jury trial on April 3. LaPrense Willis was indicted in 2019 along with his brother Clarence Willis on a first-degree murder charge.

The charge stems from the Dec. 3, 2017, shooting death of 51-year-old Tony Sanders. The Willis brothers' cousin, Takyme Devon James, 41, was found guilty of murder in Sanders' death and sentenced to a life term.

Clarence Willis was found guilty of murder in 2019 and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

At James' trial, prosecutors argued that James solicited the help of Clarence Willis and LaPrense Willis after Sanders got the best of him in a fight while they were watching football at a private club. Witnesses testified that James was intoxicated and belligerent and took a swing at Sanders when Sanders, the party's host, asked him to leave.

After Sanders helped him from the floor and walked him to the door, James allegedly recruited his cousins, Clarence Willis and LaPrense Willis, to help him retaliate. He allegedly told them that he had been "jumped" by several men who left him with a blackened eye and swollen face, according to testimony offered at James' trial in December.

Clarence Willis allegedly kicked in the door of Sanders' home, and James allegedly went inside and fired a shot that traveled through a wall before striking Sanders in his upper thigh, perforating a major vein and artery in his leg. Sanders died of blood loss despite efforts to stop the bleeding by a Texarkana, Texas, police officer.

LaPrense Willis is free on a $50,000 bond. If found guilty of murder, he faces five to 99 years or life in prison.

Print Headline: Jury trial scheduled for man charged in 2017 murder


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