Murder suspect now in Hays County Jail

By Anita Miller

The suspect in the murder of Lehman High School graduate Ben Verse has been booked into Hays County Jail.

Davonte Miller, 20, was extradited from Acadia Parish, Louisiana on Tuesday. He is being held without bond for capital murder in connection with Verse’s murder in Kyle Sept. 25, and is also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a non-fatal shooting that occurred in San Marcos a few hours earlier. Witnesses to the first incident said Miller, who had been accompanied by a female, fled the scene in a silver Hyundai.

The charge of capital murder reflects the fact that investigators believed the murder occurred in the course of a robbery. A handgun belonging to Verse was among items recovered from a bag Miller allegedly threw away while being chased by police in Louisiana.

Verse was found slumped over the steering wheel of his Toyota Corolla in the parking lot of AutoZone along Interstate 35 in Kyle just after 2 a.m. April 25 by an officer on patrol. Officer Keith Congdon of the Kyle Police Department said he observed two “circular holes,” one on the right side of Verse’s neck and another near his right temple of. He also noted that Verse’s seat belt was still attached, and that police later recovered two bullet casings from within the vehicle.

During the course of the investigation, police learned of the earlier incident on Mill Street in San Marcos, where an 18-year-old woman was shot in her arms and legs by a man she said she knew through social media as “PF Tae” after she had arranged to meet him, reportedly to sell him shoes. Later ballistic tests would link both shootings to the same weapon, a Taurus 9 mm, that was also recovered from the bag Miller allegedly tossed while being chased. 

Investigators also learned that Verse had recently purchased, “for protection,” a .38 caliber handgun with a laser in the grip that held two bullets in its cylinder.

On Sept. 27, the casings removed from Verse’s car were linked to the San Marcos shooting by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). 

On Oct. 8, local investigators learned that Miller’s silver Hyundai and personal effects, which included two handguns, one a 9 mm and one a .38 caliber, had been recovered in Louisiana. “With this firearm being in Davonte’s possession in Louisiana, Affiant believed Davonte removed it from Benjamin’s car on the night of the homicide.” Congdon also learned about that time that there were stains that appeared to be dried blood on the front seat of the Hyundai and on a black denim jacket, as well as on the two weapons.

The investigation included a examination of Verse’s phone, that was found to show contact with “PF Tae” over Snapchat at just about the time Verse’s vehicle pulled into the Auto Zone. 

On Oct. 16, Congdon met with a female “whom he positively identified” but was not named in the affidavit, who reportedly said, “Davonte was seen firing twice at Benjamin while he (Benjamin) was in the driver seat. Additionally, Davonte was seen in possession of a bag of marihuana and a revolver, both of which were removed from Benjamin’s vehicle, after the two gunshots.”

Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett did not immediately respond to an email questioning whether the unnamed female was an eye-witness to the murder and if she will be facing any charges.

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