Case for Mother’s Day murder stalls for six months due to large amount of evidence


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The murder case against a Tyler man has been delayed for nearly six months due to a plethora of evidence that both the prosecution and the defense have to go through.

James Robert Smith is accused of murdering 27-year-old Donovan Reese at a gas station back on Mother’s Day in 2019.

In a joint filing on Thursday, both the prosecution and the defense filed for a continuance that would last until August so that they could go over the evidence in the case. Most of the holdup seemed to do with ballistics.

Deputies were called to the Food Fast gas station on HWY 64 West around 2 a.m. that night. They found Reese dead in his own car.

Investigators identified Smith as the suspect after interviewing friends and witnesses to the shooting. Smith had been sitting in the Smith County Jail on a $1 million bond since his arrest.

They found that Reese and Smith had previous encounters with each other for two years before the shooting. Officials believed that the meeting at the gas station was simply “by chance.”

Sheriff Larry Smith explained how the shooting happened. He says Reese, along with two others in his vehicle were at the gas station to help change a flat for someone else.

That’s when the sheriff said Smith pulled up to the vehicle said “hey bro” and started firing, using a handgun.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder and faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted.

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