TEXARKANA, Texas — Two teens accused of fatally shooting a Texarkana husband and father in early November entered pleas of not guilty Monday morning at separate hearings to charges of capital murder and aggravated robbery.
Daveon Demonta Woods, 18, and Cameron Kieshaun Ware, 17, are accused of breaking in the door of Craig Garner's unit in the River Crossing Apartments shortly before 1:30 a.m. Nov. 9. Upon being confronted by Garner, Woods and Ware allegedly shot and killed Garner.
Ware appeared for arraignment with Texarkana lawyer Butch Dunbar for arraignment before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Dunbar entered pleas of not guilty on Ware's behalf to both charges. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said her office intends to take Woods' case to trial before Ware's.
Woods appeared for arraignment with Texarkana lawyer Jeff Harrelson before Tidwell and entered pleas of not guilty.
"I don't see us working this out without a jury trial," Crisp said.
Crisp said she has met with the case's lead detective and believes most of the forensic work on the case is complete, save one report outstanding from a firearms expert. Tidwell scheduled both defendants to return to court Feb. 24 for pretrial hearings, though specific trial dates were not set.
Both Woods and Ware are being held in the Bowie County jail.
Garner and his wife were reportedly awakened by the sound of their apartment door being kicked in during the first hour of Nov. 9, according to a probable cause affidavit. Garner's wife told police she heard Garner exclaim shortly before hearing several gunshots.
Texarkana, Texas, Police Department Spokesman Shaun Vaughn previously said that investigators believe Woods and Ware mistakenly kicked in the Garner family's door at the River Crossing Apartments on College Drive in Texarkana, Texas, and that their intended target lived elsewhere.
According to the affidavit, Woods and Ware approached three people sitting in a car at the Pecan Ridge Apartments on 15th Street in Texarkana, Texas, and offered to pay them for a ride to River Crossing Apartments. The driver and two passengers allegedly told investigators that when they arrived at River Crossing, Woods got out of the car, went to an apartment and knocked but came back to the car when the knock went unanswered.
"Woods came back to the vehicle and indicated that he was about to 'rob' the apartment," the affidavit states. "The witnesses all advised they did not want to participate."
Woods allegedly pointed a handgun at one of the car's occupants' heads and warned them not to leave. Woods allegedly took a pair of yellow Vans shoes which were in the car and put them on before walking up the stairs toward the Garner family's apartment with Ware.
As Woods and Ware approached the apartment, the passengers in the car allegedly fled on foot while the driver sped away in the car.
Texarkana, Texas, police were dispatched to the Garner family apartment at approximately 1:20 a.m. The apartment door was completely broken off its hinges and sitting in the doorway inside the unit. Garner was found lying face down, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. He died later at a local hospital.
Recovered at the scene were shell casings for guns of two different calibers. Three casings were allegedly from 380 caliber bullets and one casing was from a 40 caliber bullet.
Garner's wife reported that when the noise woke her and her husband, he went to investigate and she went to their two children, ages 2 and 4, where they slept together in a different bedroom. The wife allegedly reported she "shielded" her children until she believed it was safe to check on her husband.
Woods and Ware were both 17 at the time of the shooting. Woods turned 18 about two weeks after Garner's death and Ware's next birthday is in mid-May.
Under Texas law, persons convicted of capital murder committed when 17 or younger are ineligible for the death penalty. Typically capital murder is punishable by lethal injection or life without the possibility of parole. Youthful offenders found guilty of capital murder may receive a life sentence with parole possible after 40 years. Eligibility for parole is not a guarantee that parole will be granted.
Bail for both teens is set at $1 million in the capital murder case.
Both defendants are also accused of a gunpoint robbery at the Pecan Ridge Apartments in Texarkana, Texas, in October.
According to a probable cause affidavit in that case, Woods allegedly robbed two men of their cash, clothing and phones at gunpoint Oct. 17 at the Pecan Ridge Apartments. Ware allegedly took the victims' shoes.
Pecan Ridge is the same complex from which Woods and Ware allegedly traveled immediately prior to the shooting Nov. 9 at River Crossing.
The affidavit in the robbery case alleges Woods uses the street name "Shoota" and that he is a member of the MOB street gang, the initials for which stand for "Money Over B*****s." Bail in the robbery case is set at $100,000 for both Woods and Ware.
At the time of his arrest in November, Woods was serving a 10-year deferred adjudication probation for burglary of a habitation which began in June and stemmed from an arrest in May, court records show. Woods pleaded guilty to the offense and could have avoided a final felony conviction had he successfully completed the probation. Officials with the Bowie County Community Supervision and Corrections Department have filed paperwork seeking to end Woods' probation and impose a prison sentence in that case.