Man Coming Back To Smith County To Face 1999 Murder Charge
By KENNETH DEAN
A man being held in a federal prison in Colorado for seven bank robberies will soon be extradited to Smith County to face murder charges in a 1999 cold case.
Smith County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bobby Garmon said "good old fashioned" police work was key in finally getting an indictment for murder in the case against 32-year-old Shams Emil Masters.
"We arrested our suspect back in 1999, and a grand jury did indict him, but upon further investigation the case was dismissed by the former district attorney (Jack Skeen Jr.) due to insufficient evidence," he said.
Masters is charged with murder for the February 1999 death of 18-year-old William Thomas Young, who was found face down in a grove of trees on Cedarwood Circle in the Woodlands Estates subdivision off Old Noonday Road on Feb. 18, 1999 by a man walking his dog.
Detectives at the time determined Young had been dead of a gunshot wound several days before his body was found.
According to a
Tyler Morning Telegraph
story in 1999, the original arrest warrant affidavit stated Masters believed Young stole several hundred dollars from his home during a Super Bowl party.
The 1999 warrant said a friend of Masters said Young would "get what was coming to him."
Other articles from the time of the homicide indicate the victim was indicted for selling crack to an undercover Tyler police officer and was wanted on several felony warrants.
The investigation also revealed blood in a vehicle that Masters was seen driving at the time of the crime.
However, there were holes in the case and detectives were left to try and find the key in the investigation.
Garmon said the case was an indication that the sheriff's office never stops investigating a homicide.
"A case in Smith County is always being worked and sometimes it's just the little piece of evidence that makes the entire puzzle fit together," he said.
Garmon said that after he was released from jail, Masters left East Texas and was living under a bridge in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with a group of homeless people.
It is at that time Masters, who was arrested multiple times on drug charges, began robbing banks in the Fort Worth area.
"He was arrested and charged with seven bank robberies and sentenced into the federal prison system," Garmon said.
The chief deputy said he is proud of the work by the cold case unit headed up by Detective Joe Rasco.
"Since the sheriff began this unit in August 2009 we have solved four cold case homicides and we are currently working several others," he said.