Local murder suspect’s $4 billion bond reduced to $150,000

Antonio Marquis Willis. (Jail photo)
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) The $4 billion bond set for a Killeen murder suspect was reduced by $3,999,850,000 to $150,000.

State District Judge John Gauntt reduced the bond set for Antonio Marquis Willis in response to a joint motion filed by Willis’ attorney and the Bell County District Attorney’s Office.

First term Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown set the historically high bond after Willis drove to Killeen police headquarters on Feb. 2, parked, walked in and surrendered, authorities said.

She later acknowledged the amount could be subject to a constitutional challenge, but said she wanted to make a point about unreasonably high bond amounts that forced too many suspects to remain in jail until trial.

Willis is unemployed and doesn’t have the resources to post the reduced bond, his attorney said Friday.

A hearing could possibly be scheduled next week to reduce the new bond amount, he said.

Willis was named in a Killeen warrant stemming from the Dec. 21, 2016 shooting death of Donte Javon Samuels, 22, who was found early the next day in the yard of a home in the 300 block of South 56th Street.

"We are saddened that we even had to experience this because I never thought that I would look at my brother on an obituary," Samuels' sister, Tiffany Braziel said.

An affidavit issued in late December for the arrest of a Killeen woman, Tarah Ann Nichols, 28, who’s charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the deadly shooting, provided some detail about what police think led to Samuels’ death.

The affidavit says that on the night of the shooting, Samuels knocked on the door of a home in the 4100 block of Water Street, where Nichols and another man were staying.

The man told Samuels to leave, the affidavit said, but Samuels returned later and broke the windshield of Nichols’ vehicle.

Another man, identified as “Honcho,” had come by the house and was there when Samuels returned, the affidavit said.

The man who was staying with Nichols told officers he saw “Honcho” tell Samuels to leave and then saw him point a revolver at Samuels and fire one shot, the affidavit said.

Samuels, who was wearing dark clothing, ran in the direction of 38th street, the affidavit said.

The night after the shooting, the affidavit said, Nichols and the man who was staying with her removed a surveillance system from the home that included five cameras.

Nichols was taken into custody on Dec. 30.

Her bond was set at $500,000.

She remains in the Bell County Jail.

After the arrest, police released a surveillance image that showed the suspect in the shooting.