A Lee County jury found Marquavous Tirrell Howard guilty Monday in his retrial for capital murder — robbery in connection to the 2016 death of a taxi cab driver.
William Foreman, known as Jug to family and friends, was 67 years old when he was found lying on the side of the road at the intersection of Lee Road 401 and 170 on Aug. 31, 2016.
Howard’s first case was dismissed in September 2019 after a witness made an unsolicited comment.
“Mr. Foreman served his community and provided for his family driving a taxi and the defendant used that to lure Mr. Foreman to his death,” said Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes. “He set up the ride, robbed Mr. Foreman, and murdered him. He then drove Mr. Foreman’s vehicle to Columbus where he set it on fire before going to a convenience store and buying snacks with the proceeds of the robbery.”
Howard was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after the court deliberated for over three hours, Hughes said.
The case was prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Jessica Ventiere and Assistant District Attorney Garrett Saucer.
Howard was represented by court-appointed attorneys Everett Wess and Kittren Walker.
“To get justice for Mr. Foreman and his amazing family and knowing that his killer will never leave prison alive is why we do this job,” Hughes said. “I cannot say enough about the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the investigation they undertook in a case that spanned multiple jurisdictions.”
BackgroundThe Lee County sheriff’s deputies responded to the intersection about 6:30 a.m., according to records. They found Foreman’s body and 9-mm Luger pistol casings.
Lee County Coroner Bill Harris declared Foreman dead about 9 a.m. but said he had likely been dead for close to 12 hours.
The previous evening, the Columbus Police Department received a call of a burning vehicle about 10:30 p.m. on Old Cassette Road in Columbus. The vehicle was later identified as Foreman’s taxi, according to records.
Howard and a second suspect, Martez Anthony Simmons, were originally arrested in the case in September 2016. Simmons is still awaiting trial.
Lee County District Judge Steven Speakman said the two suspects should be held without bond during a preliminary hearing in October 2016.
Lee County sheriff’s Investigator Jennifer Bosler testified during the 2016 hearing that Simmons had seen Foreman at a Burger King on Aug. 30, the night the taxi cab driver was slain.
Both men were arrested formally in April 2017 with the addition of capital murder charges.