Man convicted of 2021 murder in Cass County

Vontrequel Nickleberry, 33
Vontrequel Nickleberry, 33(CASS COUNTY CRIMINAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY)
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 4:53 PM CDT
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CASS COUNTY, Texas (KSLA) - A Cass County jury convicted a man for murder on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Vontrequel Nickleberry, 33, was convicted for the murder of DaChauncey Jones. After the conviction, additional evidence was presented and the jury assessed a sentence of 50 years and a $10,000 fine.

During the four-day trial, the jury heard from family members, sheriff’s deputies, forensic scientists and multiple witnesses.

[RELATED: Man turns himself in following fatal shooting in east Texas]

The evidence showed that on Sept. 22, 2021, Nickleberry was at the Marietta Community Center practicing softball. While warming up, Jones drove up to the center, upset about the loss of his grandmother who has died the previous day.

Jones tried to coach for a short amount of time and walked toward Nickleberry. The two argued and were broken up by other members of the team. Nickleberry then pulled a 9 mm handgun out of his pants and pointed it at Jones.

Jones raised both hands and began backing away. Nickleberry fired two shots into Jones’ torso which proved to be fatal. While Jones was on the ground, Nickleberry walked up to him and fired another shot at his face. This shot grazed Jones’ cheek. Nickleberry then fled the scene.

The next day, Nickleberry turned himself into the sheriff’s office and gave a statement. He claimed he was in fear for his life and was acting in self-defense. He then took law enforcement into the woods and showed them where he has gotten rid of the murder weapon and an extra magazine.

While on the stand, Nickleberry stated he “would do it again.” He said he feared for his life even though he never saw a gun in Jones’ hand. He spoke about two past incidents, over a year before the murder, there Jones allegedly fired a gun in his direction.

The State presented witnesses and evidence that contradicted Nickleberry’s claims.

The jury rejected his claim of self-defense, finding either that the defendant did not believe his use of force was immediately necessary to protect himself against Jones, or that his belief was unreasonable. The State also showed evidence of Nickleberry’s past crimes committed in Dallas County, Tarrant County, Gredd County, Panola County and Morris County.

“As always, we are extremely grateful to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory for their assistance in this investigation,” said District Attorney Courtney Shelton. “We would also like to thank the eyewitnesses who came forward and were willing to testify about what they observed on September 22, 2021.

“Without their testimony, this conviction would not have been possible. DaChauncey Jones’ family has been trying to heal for nearly a year, and I believe the justice Nickleberry received will be a large step in that healing process. While this sentence will not bring Jones back, it does affirm to Cass County citizens that these types of senseless murders are not acceptable and will be prosecuted.”