Man, woman indicted in local murder case in which $4 billion bond set

Quinton Maurice Barnes (left) and Tarah Ann Nichols. (Jail photos)
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) The Bell County Grand Jury has indicted a man and a woman for tampering with evidence in connection with a local murder case in which a controversial $4 billion bond

The grand jury named Quinton Maurice Barnes, 32, and Tarah Ann Nichols, 28, in indictments stemming from the Dec. 21, 2016 shooting death of Donte Javon Samuels.

Samuels, 22, was found dead early the next day in the yard of a home in the 300 block of South 56th Street.

Both are accused of tampering with a video recording system that was installed at the location where Samuels was shot.

Police said Nichols lived at the address where Samuels was shot.

Antonio Marquis Willis is charged with murder in the deadly shooting.

First-term Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown set a $4 billion bond for Willis after Willis drove to Killeen police headquarters on Feb. 2, walked in and surrendered.

The bond was later reduced to $150,000, which Willis posted.

Nichols was held in the Bell County Jail Thursday on bonds totaling $520,000, charged with tampering with physical evidence and possession of a controlled substance.

Barnes also was in custody in lieu of a $50,000, charged with tampering with physical evidence.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Barnes said he was staying with Nichols on the night of Dec. 22 when Samuels knocked on the door and wanted to speak with Nichols.

Barnes said he told Samuels to leave the residence, but that Samuels came back and broke the windshield to Nichols’ vehicle before leaving once again, according to the document.

In the affidavit, Barnes said a man named “Honcho” came to the home and was there when Samuels returned.

He told police that he observed “Honcho” tell Samuels to leave, and saw him point a revolver at Samuels and fire one shot.

Barnes then saw Samuels, who was wearing dark clothing, run toward the direction of 38th street, the affidavit said.

In the affidavit, Barnes said that the night after the shooting, Nichols told Barnes that someone thought she was involved with the shooting.

Nichols and Barnes then took down a security system, which consisted of cameras on the front porch and garage, as well as monitors inside Nichol’s bedroom, the affidavit said.

In a written statement, Marcus Hamilton, who was at the home on Water Street when police arrived on Dec. 23, said Nichol’s house had five cameras, and that he had observed events which had been recorded by the cameras at the home.