Arrest affidavit alleges history of disputes between suspect, victim in Smith County Mother’s Day murder

Suspect, victim had history of disputes, witnesses say

Sheriff’s office identifies suspect, victim in Smith County homicide

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The Smith County Sheriff’s office has identified the suspect and victim in a Mother’s Day homicide.

The suspect has been identified as James Robert “Bobby” Smith III, 27, of Tyler, and the victim was identified as Donnavon Reese, 27.

The shooting occurred at about 2 a.m. Sunday at Food Fast in the 11000 block of State Highway 64 West, according to Larry Christian with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office says the suspect and victim knew each other and had had disagreements in the past.

WEBXTRA: Sheriff’s office identifies suspect, victim in Smith County homicide

According to the arrest affidavit, a 911 call came in just after 2 a.m. Sunday, stating that a person had been shot to death in a vehicle in the parking lot of Food Fast convenience store on Hwy 64 West. The caller said that the suspect fled in a silver SUV, traveling westbound, toward the airport.

When deputies arrived, they found the victim, Donnavon Reese, shot inside his vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene and an autopsy was ordered. Reese was transported to Forensic Medical in Tyler.

According to the affidavit, two witnesses interviewed by Tyler police detectives said that the suspect, now identified as James Robert Smith, III, was driving a light-colored SUV, and was a white man wearing a gray hoodie and carrying a black firearm. They said Smith yelled, “Hey, bro!” out of the passenger side window just before shooting the weapon. They then said the vehicle Smith was in left the location, heading westbound on Hwy 64 West.

The witnesses said that the victim had told them before the shooting that he had robbed Smith about two years ago, and that he had also beat him up about four months ago.

When a crime scene analyst processed the scene, he located seven bullet holes in the passenger side of the victim’s vehicle. He also located one spent Winchester .40 caliber casing lying on the ground in a location which is consistent with the two witness accounts of the shooting.

Detective Logan Smith interviewed an associate of the suspect, who told him that the suspect was living at 397 FM 724 in Smith County. He said that he knew Smith carried a pistol, though he could not identify what kind.

When detectives arrived at the house on FM 724, they saw a silver SUV in the carport of the house. They also observed a white Chevrolet truck stuck in the mud just behind the house in a pasture. Both vehicles were visible from FM 724. Detectives found the suspect and placed him in hand restraints. He was taken to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office to be interviewed.

Other things observed inside the home after they were granted a search warrant were clothing, boots, ammunition, a case for a Springfield pistol, were consistent with the witnesses’ interviews and video from the store, the affidavit states.

Because of this information, a probable cause warrant was issued and James Robert Smith, III was charged with First Degree Murder.

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Smith III was booked into the Smith County Jail on Sunday and is being held on a $750,000 bond.

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