September 30, 2021
District Attorney Maggie Fleming announced that on September 27, 2021, a Humboldt County jury found 29-year-old Markis Caprice Dewayne Shirley of Eureka guilty of first-degree residential burglary with person present (Penal Code [PC] §459), felon in possession of a gun (PC §29800), and assault (PC §240).
During the three-week trial, one of the victims testified that on November 3, 2020, Josie Craig left victim’s motel room door ajar, allowing defendant Shirley and Tavin Evans to rush inside uninvited. The victim testified she was in the motel room with her boyfriend when the defendant entered her room with Evans. She testified the defendant struck her boyfriend with a pistol, pointed the pistol at her, and removed cash and marijuana from her purse. A staff member from the motel testified that motel surveillance showed Shirley and Evans walked past the motel room, waited by the door, and then rushed in as Josie Craig left. (The District Attorney’s Office did also charge Shirley with robbery, but the jury did not reach a unanimous verdict on that charge.) During his investigation of the case, Eureka Police Department Detective Eckert determined that Craig, Evans, and Shirley all arrived at the motel in the same vehicle and left in the same vehicle. Craig has pled as an accessory to the crime and Evans’ case is pending trial.
Several days after the incident, Arcata Police Department officers created the opportunity to hold Shirley accountable for his actions when they located the defendant in the getaway vehicle and found a semi-automatic pistol under the driver’s seat. Evidence in the case also included incriminating statements by Mr. Shirley.
Deputy District Attorneys Shelly Small and David Moutrie prosecuted the case with the assistance of District Attorney Investigator Marvin Kirkpatrick and Victim Advocate Velda Gooden. Defense Attorney Zachary Curtis represented Mr. Shirley. Judge Wilson presided over the trial.
Following the verdicts, the defendant waived his right to a jury trial concerning the validity of “strike” priors alleged by the District Attorney’s Office and on September 28 Judge Wilson found those to be true. Mr. Shirley has been convicted of five prior felonies since 2011, including residential burglary and criminal threats in 2016 which are both classified as “strikes” under California law.
The conclusion of the trial did not lead directly to a sentencing date because Mr. Shirley faces an additional charge for conduct at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility while in custody since his arrest.