Jury finds Sasha Skare guilty of killing San Antonio rapper

Skare faces possible maximum punishment of up to life in prison

SAN ANTONIO – After just over two hours of deliberations, a Bexar County jury on Thursday found Sasha Skare guilty of murder.

She’s convicted of fatally shooting Martell Derouen, a San Antonio rapper related to Beyoncé, in January 2021 near La Cantera.

When the verdict was read, Skare showed no emotion.

Last week, she declined a plea deal for 20 years, and her case went to trial.

The punishment phase started Thursday afternoon and will resume at 9 a.m. Friday.

Skare faces a possible maximum punishment of up to life in prison.

Punishment phase

The state called in three witnesses Thursday afternoon to give jurors a better picture of how Derouen’s death impacted his family.

On the way up to the witness stand, Derouen’s mother, Melissa Davis, wiped away tears.

She testified that Derouen would accompany her on hospital visits while his stepfather was being treated for cancer.

“He made sure that I was good,” Davis said.

Davis and Martell Derouen’s father, Lenard Derouen, testified about the loss’s effect on their health.

“I’m truly devastated,” Lenard Derouen testified. “I don’t sleep good at night anymore.”

Joia Derouen took the stand for the third time during the trial. She told the jury about Martell Derouen.

“He was silly. He was a foodie -- he loved to eat,” she said.

Joia Derouen testified that her husband, whom she was separated from, was loved by so many.

Joia Deroen told jurors she felt like she was Martell Derouen’s protector.

“I do have some type of hurt in my heart because I feel like if [Martell and I] would have never broken up, this would have never happened,” she testified.

The defense did not ask any of Martell Derouen’s family members any questions during this phase, nor did they have any witnesses.

Closing statements

During the hour-long closing arguments on Thursday, the jury heard the state’s final push to try to convince them to find her guilty of the higher murder charge.

Prosecutor Ashley Jones attempted to poke holes in Skare’s testimony, telling jurors they would have to believe Skare to find her guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

“Has she given you a reason to believe her?” asked Jones.

Jones argued that Skare was not afraid, refuting Skare’s testimony on Wednesday afternoon.

“The defendant knew exactly what she was doing,” said Jones. “[Skare] was banging on the door to get Martell to come and deal with her, and then she shot him. That is murder.”

Skare’s defense attorneys argued that she did not intend to hurt or kill Derouen, who went by the name Kordone.

“The only people that know are Sasha and, unfortunately, Martell was killed that night,” said defense attorney Valarie Hedlund.

Hedlund said the shooting was traumatic for Skare, showing jurors pictures of the injuries Skare said she got from her fight with Derouen the night of the shooting.

In his rebuttal argument, prosecutor Chris Ramos showed the pictures of Skare’s injuries. He told jurors there was no DNA evidence showing Derouen had scratched Skare.

Ramos brought up Skare’s previous testimony, where she admitted to using the name of Derouen’s wife, Joia, in a 911 call.

“By her actions, she’s implicating Joia in Martell’s death,” Ramos argued. “That sounds very cold-blooded to me.”

Skare testifies

According to her arrest affidavit, Skare was in a relationship with Derouen at the time of his death. Investigators believe they got into an argument, and Skare allegedly shot Derouen through the front door of his apartment on Jan. 22.

Skare was arrested weeks later, and, according to the arrest affidavit, surveillance footage from the apartment complex put Skare at the scene.

After a 35-second opening argument made by the defense on Wednesday, jurors heard directly from Skare.

The defendant broke down during her testimony, which lasted nearly an hour and a half.

She said she did not mean to hurt Derouen.

“My intent was just to get his attention,” Skare said as she wiped away tears.

Both sides rested on Wednesday, and opening arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning.

You can watch the trial on KSAT.com, KSAT Plus and KSAT’s YouTube channel.

See live tweets below from court reporter Erica Hernandez.

For background on the case watch the ‘Open Court’ episode below.

Trial coverage:

About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.