College student who went on murder spree in Dallas rapped about body bags and toe tags
An Arkansas college student accused of triple murder in Dallas rapped about gun violence in a song released a day before the killing spree.
Justin Pharez Smith, 21, is charged with capital murder for the deaths of Demarcus Walton, Tyteanna Brown and Kimberly Montgomery. According to Dallas police, Smith has admitted to the August 2 crime at 5125 Wynell St. in South Dallas. He is being held on a $1 million bond.
Police executed a narcotics search warrant at Smith's mother's home in Arlington and believe the murders could be drug-related. Dallas police major Jeff Cotner appeared stunned by suspect's profile.
Although police have portrayed the crime as drug-related, it appears the suspect was going through a break-up at the time of the murders.
"It's a person that you would not stereotypically place in street narcotics sales, but none of that takes away from his culpability," Cotner said at an August 1 press conference.
A junior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Smith was active in several student organizations, such as Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and a university club called "Black Male Achievers."
He was also a rapper and lyricist. Using the name "Pharaoh Pharez," Smith penned deeply personal poems about a troubled upbringing that referenced the violent death of his father and being molested.
Although his creative expressions had previously advocated against gun violence, Smith's more recent work appeared to glorify it. The song "Fear" was released August 1 and spoke of body bags and toe tags. "I ain't scared of shit," Pharaoh Pharez proclaims.
According to police, Smith arrived at the home on Wynell Street around 6:40 am on August 2. He shot all three victims in the living room before proceeding to shoot a fourth person while she "begged for her life" and spoke of her "babies."
Smith allegedly shot her in the head as she curled into the fetal position. Amazingly, she played dead, survived the shooting and was able to identify Smith from a photo lineup.
Smith confronted two more people with his gun before he ran out of ammunition. "The witness reported hearing the gun click several times as Smith attempted to reload," Cotner said. "He was trying to take six lives." When his gun failed, Smith ran over one man with his car as he fled the scene.
The lyrics of his rap song, though not out of the ordinary for hip-hop music, are especially disturbing in light of his alleged crimes.
After showering at his mother's house in Arlington, Smith told police he got a haircut and sought refuge with his "mentor" in Grand Prairie. Cotner did not have any further understanding of Smith's relationship to his so-called mentor.
Although police have portrayed the crime as drug-related, it appears Smith was going through a break-up at the time of the murders. On July 29, Smith fired off a series of tweets expressing pain for love lost.
"How do you make what should have been be again?" he wrote, followed by, "How can you move on to the next if you don't know how to stop loving the first?"
His tweets took a darker turn as he wrote, "There is a thin line between love and death," and "There is a thin line between life and hate." Just minutes later, Smith said, "I just want my baby back... and my baby!" followed by "I'm so cold hearted right now."
Only one of Smith's victims, Tyteanna Brown, was his age. Demarcus Walton and Kimberly Montgomery were in their late 30s.
On August 1, the day before police say Smith committed a triple murder and attempted to kill three others, the 21-year-old released his rap song "Fear." The lyrics, though not out of the ordinary for hip-hop music, are especially disturbing in light of Smith's alleged crimes.
"I am a god. I am a Martian mixed with a Spartan," he rapped. Smith went on to describe what sounds like a residential murder scene eerily similar to the one in Dallas.
"When you see me creep, get the f**k down on your front lawn and get bust on... shooters like shooting stars, get your body bags with a toe tag no F-E-A-R."
Smith's song also has several religious references. "The lord as my witness, I died already but I got a god that's not giving me a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of sound mind. Amen."
The day he was arrested for murder, Smith shared the song "Butterflies" by Michael Jackson on his SoundCloud profile.
Dallas police spokesperson DeMarquis Black says he is aware of Smith's aspiring rap career but had not specifically listened to the song "Fear."