Markus Boyd: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?

Image Credit: 48 Hours

On an October night in 1994, Markus Boyd was simply sitting on his front porch with a friend while his girlfriend was spending time with their daughter upstairs. Next thing we know, his friend was made to watch Markus being shot to death then and there. Sending shockwaves throughout the entire community, his family and friends were devastated by the loss of such a kind-hearted soul. Once the investigation began, it didn’t take long for the police to find some suspects. The episode titled ‘Lamar Johnson: Standing in Truth’ of CBS’ ’48 Hours’ covers the entire case in detail, focusing on the decades-long investigation for justice.

Markus Boyd Was Shot Right Outside His House

Markus Boyd (alternatively spelled as Marcus) was born sometime in the 1960s. He was 25 years old at the time of the incident and lived with his girlfriend, Leslie Williamson, and their child. Markus was a family man who aimed to build a great life for his loving and supportive partner and give their young daughter a bright future. The trio were residents of the eclectic city of St. Louis in the east-central part of Missouri. The world of Markus and Leslie revolved around their daughter, whom they had been raising with utmost affection and care. On the professional front, Markus had obtained employment at a printing company.

Markus was a hardworking individual and seemingly shared a good bond with his colleagues. His amicable personality led him to make quite a few friends at his workplace, one of whom was James Gregory “Greg” Elking. Though the two met each other while working at the printing company, they soon developed a solid friendship and began spending time outside of work. However, it is imperative to mention that he was reportedly not far from trouble. Several reports stated Markus used to sell drugs on the side, probably to get by and have some extra money to support the needs of his family. As per reports, apart from being a friend, Greg also became one of his customers soon.

As per Greg, Markus was a genuinely good guy with high hopes for the future. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to actualize any of his dreams for himself or his family as he was killed on October 30, 1994. On the fateful day, Markus was hanging out on the porch of his house at 3910 Louisiana Avenue. His girlfriend, Leslie, was chilling in the upstairs apartment with their daughter. While Greg said that he wanted to get high and asked Markus for some drugs in exchange for an answering machine, the latter turned him down, reminding him that they had to attend work the following morning. The two men were sharing a few laughs on the stairs while enjoying the chilly weather when the smile on Markus’ face wiped off and got replaced with a somber look.

Around 9 pm, Greg and Markus were greeted by two black men donning ski masks and darker-colored clothes to hide their identities. As the masked men ran up to the 25-year-old’s residence, Greg and Markus realized they carried guns. Before they could do anything, the duo opened fire, shooting Markus several times. Following the shooting, they vanished across the alleyway, and a scared Greg ran off. The police were notified about the incident, and they arrived at the property around 9:07 pm to discover a severely injured Markus on his back in the front yard. Though he was immediately rushed to St. Louis University Hospital, Markus Boyd succumbed to the gunshot wounds around 9:55 pm, leaving behind his girlfriend and daughter.

The Killers Evaded Justice For Decades While an Innocent Man Was Imprisoned For the Murder

After taping the crime scene and gathering all the evidence, the police interviewed Markus’ girlfriend, who was tending to their daughter in the apartment during the shooting. She informed them that her boyfriend was talking with Greg at the time and that she suspected Lamar Johnson to be the one responsible for the murder of Markus as they allegedly had a fallout in recent times. They even held a long interrogation with the eye witness, Greg, who only saw the eyes of the perpetrators as they were wearing ski masks. As per his best judgment, Greg confirmed that Lamar’s eyes somewhat matched those of one of the perpetrators. Another one of the suspects was Phillip Campbell.

Four days after the tragedy, on the evening of November 3, 1994, while Lamar was giving a ride to Phillip to his home, they were stopped in their tracks by the police. Backed up by enough evidence, the police arrested and charged Lamar Johnson and Phillip Campbell for the murder of Markus Boyd. With both of them in custody, another unlikely witness emerged in the form of a jailhouse informant who had a lengthy criminal history — William Mock. He claimed that he eavesdropped a conversation between Lamar and Phillip in prison, where they discussed the murder. Reports claimed that William had been placed two jail cells away from theirs, making it possible for him to hear the conversation.

So, the prosecution built the case against Lamar based on the words of Greg and William. Soon, Lamar’s trial began, during which his girlfriend, Erika Barrow, testified that he was with her at the time of the killing. However, the jury seemingly focused more on the claims of the prosecutors, coming back with a guilty verdict within a couple of hours. In September 1995, Lamar Johnson received a life imprisonment sentence without the possibility of parole. On the other hand, the second suspect, Phil Campbell, pleaded guilty and received a reduced sentence of seven years of imprisonment. In the following years, Phil ended up meeting his demise.

Decades later, when the case of Markus Boyd’s murder was reopened in 2022, several new revelations were made during the trial. For instance, the truth that Greg was paid about $4,000 for the troubles he went to testify came to light. Furthermore, a convicted felon named James Howard, who had been serving a life sentence for murder and other unrelated crimes, came forward to testify that it was he and Campbell who planned to rob Markus due to the money he owed to one of their friends. When the robbery turned into a scuffle, they shot him to death. Upon reevaluating certain aspects of the case and how it was handled, Lamar Johnson was proven to be not guilty and fully exonerated in 2023 after spending nearly three decades in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Read More: Lamar Johnson: Where is the Wrongfully Convicted Now?