Suspect in Commerce Sister Slayings Charged in Denton New Year's Eve Murder

Texas A&M Commerce murder suspect charged with capital murder in Denton case with two other men

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The man charged with double capital murder in the slaying of two sisters in an East Texas university residence hall on Monday is facing another charge of capital murder in an unrelated case out of Denton.

Jacques Smith, 21, who was accused Tuesday of killing his ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Abbaney Matts and her 19-year-old sister Deja Matts, inside the Pride Rock residence hall at Texas A&M University-Commerce, is now also one of three men charged with killing 22-year-old Steven Daniels on New Year's Eve.

Denton police said investigators were searching Smith's Rowlett home on Tuesday in connection with they killings in Commerce when they uncovered evidence that connected him to the murder in Denton. Denton detectives applied for a secondary search warrant for the residence.

On Wednesday morning, officials announced additional charges against Smith, along with 23-year-old Jalin Hargrove and 26-year-old Earnest Rogers who are also charged with capital murder in the Denton case.

An arrest affidavit says Denton police identified Rogers in surveillance video taken from a convenience store after Daniels was killed. Police traced Rogers to the Rowlett home. Detectives said they were already conducting surveillance on the home before the Commerce murders.

Inside the home, an arrest affidavit says detectives found clothes the suspects were seen wearing on surveillance video after the Denton murder. When he was arrested, the affidavit states Hargrove was wearing the same sweatshirt seen in surveillance video.

The affidavit says Smith tried selling a pistol involved in the Denton killing to a police informant, reportedly telling the informant, "they took the victim's cell phone and gun during the robbery and shot the victim one or two times."

The victim, 22-year-old Steven Daniels, was a father to a one-year-old son named King. Daniels recently moved to Denton, according to family members.

"He had just got his first apartment, he just had a one-year-old so he was trying to do the independent thing," said cousin Keiaira Daniels.

Hargrove and Rogers were placed under arrest and transported to the Denton City Jail without incident and are being held on $1 million bond. Smith, who was arrested Tuesday in Rowlett, was transferred to the Hunt County Jail by Texas DPS officials. It's not clear if the men have obtained attorneys.

Denton police said Daniels was found on New Year's Eve on the ground inside a gated apartment complex on the 900 block of Cleveland Street suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to his chest. Daniels was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators have not revealed a motive for either shooting.

Police said due to the ongoing nature of both the Denton police investigation and the Texas A&M University-Commerce police investigation, no additional details are being released at this time.

Anyone with any information in relation to the Daniels case is encouraged to call Denton County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-388-TIPS or the Denton Police Department tip line at 940-349-TIPS.

A Garland police arrest affidavit for Smith is included below.

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