Repeat offender gets 10 years for armed assault in plea deal

Great Seal of Arkansas in a court room in Washington County. Thursday, June 21, 2018,

Marquese Deshaun Gay, who critically injured a toddler during an attack on one former girlfriend — while on probation for a Little Rock murder he committed at age 16 — has pleaded no contest to an armed assault on another ex-girlfriend during a North Little Rock home invasion.

Sentencing papers filed Tuesday show Gay, now 25, has accepted a 10-year prison sentence for the February 2021 attack at the Boggs Street home of 24-year-old Alexandria Nicole Senior, who has a daughter with him.

Court records show police were called to the residence about an armed man breaking into the house shortly before midnight. Sgt. Mark Roberts saw the front door had been kicked down and could hear a commotion inside with children crying.

Alerted that the intruder was a man in a black hoodie, Roberts saw the man inside the residence. The hoodie man then turned toward the officer with a pistol in his right hand held at waist level. The weapon was equipped with a long extended magazine.

The gunman looked at Roberts who drew his own weapon and ordered the man to surrender, but the gunman instead turned and moved further inside the residence, disappearing for about 10 seconds before coming back. Appearing in the doorway, the man at first refused to leave the house, claiming he’d done nothing wrong, but he eventually surrendered in the front yard to Roberts and fellow Officer Jason Hawkins.

Identified as Gay, he did not have a gun, but 43-year-old Jennifer Butzler, Senior’s mother, directed police to a gun in the kitchen. The weapon had been left in a baby swing.

Butzler told the officer that Gay had shown up that night without notice. When he knocked on the door, Butzler said, she told everyone in the house not to answer. Gay began pounding on the door, demanding to see his daughter, then kicked his way in, with a gun in his hand that he pointed at Senior. He told them, “I’m going to kill everyone in here if I don’t get to see my kid,” she said. Along with Senior’s 15-month-old daughter, Butzler’s two other children, ages 10 and 12, heard Gay’s threats.

Senior told investigators that Gay had texted her asking to see the toddler, but she told him the child could not go out in the cold weather. Investigators noted it was 20 degrees.

In custody, Gay described himself as “tweaked out,” telling police, “I know I f—-ed up and I was wrong. I just wanted to see my daughter,” police reports show.

Charged with aggravated residential burglary, aggravated assault on a family member, felon in possession of a firearm and four counts of terroristic threatening, he pleaded no contest to the charges, which together carry a potential life sentence, in exchange for the 10-year term from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Cathi Compton. Under the conditions of his plea agreement, negotiated by deputy prosecutor Claire Maddox and defense attorney Jonathan Lane, his sentence will run concurrently with the 25-year prison sentence he’s already serving for injuring the child. He’ll be eligible for parole in May 2034 when he’ll be 36.

Gay spent about three days in custody before posting $25,000 bond to be released. Nine months later, Mayflower police arrested him in November 2021 after he inflicted severe head injuries on a 19-month-old boy during an attack on the child’s mother, 24-year-old Alexus Howell, at Howell’s home at Queens Manor apartments on Arkansas 365 about four days after Thanksgiving.

Doctors told police the child was suffering seizures and had to be put on a ventilator to breathe. Howell, a mother of two, told investigators that she had broken up with Gay a week earlier because of his physical abuse, but that she had let him come over to retrieve his things. Gay started an argument, which turned physical with him beating her unconscious, Howell said, describing for police how he poured water on her to wake her up.

Howell said Gay started throwing things around the apartment, striking the child. Howell told police that she tried to shield the boy with her body and Gay started kicking her. Howell said Gay left after someone knocked on her door and announced they were calling police. A neighbor performed CPR on the boy to try and revive him.

The toddler was taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock where he required emergency intubation and had to be put on a ventilator. Authorities said the injuries could have killed or crippled him if he hadn’t gotten immediate medical attention.

In a follow-up visit with doctors, the boy was reported to be physically recovered but was still suffering from nightmares and displaying a tendency for physical aggressiveness that had developed since he was beaten. Those behavioral problems could be caused by brain damage or from the trauma he suffered, court filings show.

Charged with first-degree battery and second-degree domestic battering, Gay pleaded guilty to the charges last December in exchange for the 25-year sentence in Faulkner County Circuit Court. The battery charge, representing the injuries inflicted on the child, carried a potential life sentence because of the child’s age.

At the time of the North Little Rock home invasion, Gay had been on probation about 16 months for first-degree murder, a killing he committed in July 2015 in Little Rock, about nine months after turning 16. In that case, 20-year-old Mark DeAngelo Mosley Jr. was found fatally shot in front of 1624 S. Cedar St.

Witnesses told police that Mosley, who lived nearby, was outside talking with a cousin and some friends at a gathering at the intersection of 17th and Cedar streets when Gay arrived.

Gay and Mosley had been recently feuding, both in person and on Facebook. He was riding in a car with two men who had been invited to the gathering. The men had given Gay a ride after seeing the teen walking in the heat a couple of blocks away.

Witnesses told police that Mosley, a father of one, had confronted Gay about the way the teen was staring at him, “mean-mugging,” and being disrespectful. Gay pulled out a gun during the confrontation and pointed it at Mosley, who dismissively pushed the weapon away a couple of times while offering to fistfight Gay. One witness said Gay told the man he’d prefer to shoot him.

“I’m not going to fight you, just shoot you,” Gay reportedly told Mosley before pulling the trigger.

G ay, wh o w i t n e ss e s knew by the nickname “Lil Ghumbie,” fled after Mosley was shot. Mosley didn’t have a weapon and never touched Gay during the confrontation, according to police.

Surrendering to police the following day, Gay, who had not been in serious trouble with the law before, was charged as an adult, but Circuit Judge Herb Wright transferred the case to juvenile court over the objections of prosecutors in November 2015.

Ruling that Gay could be rehabilitated in juvenile court, the judge ordered Gay prosecuted as an extended juvenile-justice offender, which required that Gay be examined before his 21st birthday to determine whether he had been rehabilitated.

A finding that he had not been rehabilitated would have subjected him to the possibility of being sent to prison. The juvenile-justice designation also requires that offenders in homicide cases serve at least three years on probation after discharging their juvenile sentence.

Gay was subsequently sentenced to three years on probation for first-degree murder when he turned 21 in October 2019. Records don’t show whether he pleaded guilty to the charge or was convicted at trial.