A federal Judge in Houston has sentenced Shane Gail “Dirty” McNiel of San Antonio and Denise Nicole Feathers of Jourdanton to 10 years and six years in prison, respectively, in relation to the murder of Mark Davis Byrd Sr. in 2008. McNiel and Feathers both entered guilty pleas to being accessories after the fact to murder; they helped hide a shotgun used in the killing.
A person driving by a field near Mangum and Schuettig roads about five miles north of Poteet found Byrd’s body on Sunday, May 4, 2008. Investigators said that Byrd’s body appeared to have been tied up and that he had been shot in the head. Byrd was well known to local law enforcement, having a track record of arrests. Later on, investigators alleged that Mark Davis Byrd Sr. had been an Aryan Brotherhood prospective member, saying his murderers killed him in retribution for stealing drugs he was supposed to deliver.
In February 2011, Jim Flint “Q-Ball” McIntyre, 43 pleaded guilty to murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the racketeering-related death of Byrd. Michael Dewayne “Bucky” Smith, 30, pleaded guilty to the same charges on May 11 that same year. On June 8, 2011, Frank Lavelle “Thumper” Urbish pleaded guilty to committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity. Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward, at the time serving as Chief Deputy, said that Urbish “accepted responsibility for his role in the murder of Byrd.”
Sheriff Soward stated that the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division investigated the homicide, with assistance from the Texas Rangers, which led to the arrest of four suspects. “An agreement was later reached between the sheriff’s office, the 81st District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that the case would be adopted by the ATF and that the suspects would be prosecuted in federal court,” Sheriff Soward added.
Sheriff also stated that the investigation is considered ongoing in the federal system.