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Trial begins for man accused of killing Arkansas teen

“An accidental firearm discharge happened that night,” his defense attorney contends
Markelle Demetrice Davis, 20, is being tried on a charge of first-degree murder in connection...
Markelle Demetrice Davis, 20, is being tried on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Jacquelyn Paxton in April 2019 in the parking lot of Village Park South apartments in Texarkana, Ark.(Source: Miller County Detention Center)
Published: Jan. 6, 2020 at 10:37 PM CST
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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) — Testimony is expected to resume Tuesday in the trial of the man accused of killing a Miller County, Ark., woman.

Markelle Demetrice Davis, 20, is being tried on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the death of 18-year-old Jacquelyn Paxton.

“We hope in the next three days we are able to prove that it is not murder one; that, in fact, that it was an accident that Mr. Davis committed,” said his attorney, Brandon Pickett.

“He did not mean to kill one of his best friends.”

Prosecutors, however, said in court Monday that Davis fatally shot Paxton after she pulled his hair during an altercation in April in the parking lot of Village Park South apartments in Texarkana, Ark.

Witnesses testified that the two were among several people who were helping a friend move.

According to one witness, Davis allegedly was hitting her with a gun and Paxton came to help and that's when the single shot was fired, striking Paxton in the head.

“An accidental firearm discharge happened that night,” Pickett contended.

Witnesses said the group present that April night were all friends, including Davis and Paxton.

“We all grieve with the family of the victim, miss paxton,” Pickett said. “So it’s just a lot of emotions, a lot of heartache and just a lot of pain.”

During opening statements on Day One of what’s expected to be a three-day trial, Pickett admitted that his client acted recklessly the night Paxton was killed.

However, the defense attorney said, the charge first-degree murder — which carries a possible life sentence — does not fit the crime.

“As Markelle’s defense team, we are going to propose less included charges, which includes negligent homicide, manslaughter, such as that.”

Davis has remained in the Miller County Correctional Facility since Paxton’s death.

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