Prosecutor seeks death penalty in Houston murder case

PERRY — Houston County District Attorney Kelly Burke said Monday that he is seeking the death penalty for two Eatonton men accused of slaying a Warner Robins man for his car in 2008.

Joshua Dupree Rounsoville, 21, and Stewart Calvert Brannon, 20, were indicted by a Houston County grand jury on charges of murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault with a firearm.

Rounsoville and Brannon both entered not-guilty pleas Monday during arraignment in Houston County Superior Court.

When indicted, the grand jury found the existence of aggravating circumstances in the fatal shooting of Mario Maurice Smith, 25, a maintenance worker for the Houston County Board of Education.

Aggravating circumstances are required before the death penalty may be considered, Burke said.

The aggravating circumstances cited by the grand jury were that the murder was committed in the commission of another capital felony, which was armed robbery, and that the offense of murder was committed for money or monetary value, the prosecutor said.

Brannon was first charged as a party to the crimes of murder and armed robbery. However, the prosecutor said whatever a person’s role is in the slaying doesn’t change the fact that he is just as responsible for the crime, Burke said.

Smith’s body was discovered by his brother Aug. 24, 2008, inside a storage unit at The Glass Doctor at 2305 Watson Blvd. His prized red 1987 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which was stored in the unit, was gone. Police said the motive for the slaying was the car.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.