A Rowlett man, one of two individuals charged with capital murder in connection with the February 2019 homicides of two people in Royse City, has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Calvin Earl Rayford, 20, previously pleaded not guilty to a charge of capital murder of multiple persons.
During a hearing last week conducted via ZOOM, in the 354th District Court, Rayford, 20, entered an open plea of guilty and agreed to testify against a second defendant charged with capital murder in the case.
An open plea means no plea bargain agreement has been arranged in the case and that Rayford is subject to the full range of punishment.
Judge Keli Aiken ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Dec. 21.
Assistant District Attorney G. Calvin Grogan said Rayford will also be eligible for probation when sentenced.
“Because the state did not seek a deadly weapon finding in his case,” Grogan said, noting probation would only be possible if Rayford is sentenced to 10 years or less.
Manslaughter is a second-degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.
The Hunt County grand jury returned the indictments in August 2019 against Rayford and Dearis Rayvone Davis of Arlington.
Davis, 29, is currently set for jury selection on the capital murder charge on Oct. 19.
Both had pleaded not guilty to the capital murder indictment involving the deaths of Courtland Trowell-Wilmore and a juvenile male whose identity is being kept confidential.
Davis and Rayford were each being held in the Hunt County Detention Center in lieu of $1 million bond.
Both were taken into custody May 29, 2019.
The Royse City Police Department reported it had found two people dead in the Woodland Creek subdivision during the early hours of Feb. 3, 2019.
One of the two victims was a high school student at the time of his death, and the other was a former student.
The Hunt County District Attorney’s Office had waived the death penalty as a potential punishment should either of the defendants be found guilty of capital murder. Davis is now facing life without the possibility of parole if they are convicted of the charge.