Jury Finds Masters Guilty of Murder in 1999 Death of ETX Man

UPDATE 5:10:  A Smith County jury has found Shams Masters guilty of murder in the death of 18-year-old William Young in 1999.  Now the sentencing phase begins.  The prosecution wants Masters to spend life in prison and pay a $10,000 fine.

TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - The defense rested its case and the evidence concluded in the Shams Masters murder trial this afternoon.

Masters is accused in the killing of William Young, 18, who was found face down in a grove of trees on Cedarwood Circle in the Woodlands Estates subdivision in southern Smith County. Masters was 20 at the time of the February 1999 killing.

Masters was extradited in April from a federal prison in Colorado, where he was serving time for seven bank robberies. He faces up to life in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of murder, Prosecutor Whitney Tharpe has said.

The defense today recalled Aaron Vaughn, a witness who had earlier testified for the state.

Defense attorney Melvin Thompson asked Vaughn if he remembered telling police in 2002 that Masters told Vaughn that Masters killed William Young on Feb. 11 or 12.

Vaughn said he did.

"You mean Mr. Masters killed Kilo before Kilo was dead," Thompson asked the witness, referring to the victim.

But Ms. Tharpe questioned Vaughn, reiterating that Vaughn did not remember those exact dates because of his drug use


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