Man charged with shooting longtime friend in Austin

Marvin Browder was charged with first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of 39-year-old Develle Sprawls.

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Marvin Browder was charged with fatally shooting a man April 6, 2021, in Austin.

File photo

An Austin man shot his longtime friend during an argument this week before dragging his friend’s body into the backyard and placing a gun in his hand, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

Police officers responding Tuesday to a home in the 5400 block of West Flournoy Street found 39-year-old Davelle Sprawls covered in blood, but the 9 mm handgun he held had been wiped clean, prosecutors told Judge Arthur Wesley Willis.

The officers followed drag marks from the backyard into 37-year-old Marvin Browder’s kitchen, where they noticed several bullet holes and shell casings. A blood trail leading to the basement was believed to have been left by Sprawls as he tried to crawl out of the basement after he was shot, prosecutors said.

More shell casings and live ammunition were found in the basement, prosecutors said.

Browder’s grandmother, who lives at the home with him, told officers that she awoke after hearing gunshots and went to the kitchen where she saw her grandson asking Sprawls if he was all right, prosecutors said.

Shortly after, Browder called police to report a man had been shot in his backyard.

Marvin Browder, 37

Marvin Browder, 37

Chicago police

Browder allegedly first told officers that Sprawls had shot at him in the basement and they had struggled over the gun, leading Sprawls to be shot.

Browder further claimed that Sprawls had struck him with the claw side of a hammer found in the basement, but no blood was found on the tool, prosecutors said.

Browder, who had no blood on him and was uninjured, later changed his story and said a hammer was not involved, prosecutors said.

It was determined that Sprawls suffered 14 gunshot wounds, including one to the rear of his head, and Browder was subsequently charged with first-degree murder.

Browder faces federal gun charges in a separate case and was on pre-trial release at the time of the shooting, prosecutors said.

Browder is the father of four children and has two other children on the way, his defense attorney said. He has most recently been working in packaging at a chicken processing facility and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of previously being shot.

The judge ordered Browder held without bail. He was next expected in court on April 29.

Read more on crime, and track the city’s homicides.

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