Guilty: 3 Convicted Of Murdering Former Local High Football Standout

Photo by John Payne

SELMA – All three individuals charged in the homicide of 19 year-old Malik Shepard have been convicted and sentenced to prison. Shepard was fatally shot on January 4, 2020 while sitting in his car on Preston Street in the Selma city limits.

Days later, Selma Police announced the arrests of Kevin Ruiz of Camp Lejeune, Julian Furr of Holly Ridge, and Marcus Thomas on murder charges.

All three defendants were convicted recently in Johnston County Court of second degree murder. Ruiz and Furr were sentenced to 204 to 257 month prison sentences. Thomas was sentenced to 102 to 135 months behind bars.

Photo by John Payne

The case was investigated by the Selma Police Department and State Bureau of Investigation, along with the assistance of Naval Criminal Investigative Service at Camp Lejeune and the Four Oaks Police Department.

Malik Shepherd was a standout football player known for his good humor and athletic ability. He was a graduate of Smithfield-Selma High School, attended Johnson C. Smith University, and was less than a week away from starting at Barton College to pursue his dream of football.

Photo by John Payne

“The District Attorney’s Office extends our deepest condolences to the family of Malik Shepherd as they grieve the unimaginable loss of their son. Malik has strong family support and this was shown throughout the court process. We hope the convictions in this case will begin a time of healing and closure for the family. We would also like to thank all law enforcement agencies involved for their hard work and tireless efforts throughout the investigation of this case, said Johnston County Assistant District Attorney Mark Mayakis.


  1. Wow. So that’s all the time you get for killing a young educated smart young black man like Malik ? This kid had a bright future.

  2. The comments addressing race here are so inappropriate for the loss of a young adult. The law is written based on degree of the crime not the race of the victim. Furthermore the judge uses their descression as to the culpability of each individual involved in the death of the individual, including the victim. The individual that murdered my family member was free after only serving 4 years. Nothing seems fair when it comes down punishment for killing someone. Bless this family during such a difficult time.

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