#15: Man murdered childhood friend while awaiting trial on federal gun charges, prosecutors say

Marvin Browder | CPD

A man who allegedly murdered his friend during an argument last week is the 15th person accused of shooting, killing, or trying to kill someone in Chicago this year while out of jail on another pending felony case.

Judge Arthur Willis ordered Marvin Browder, 37, held without bail after prosecutors accused him of killing 39-year-old Develle Sprawls on April 6 on the West Side.

Browder was hanging out with Sprawls, a friend since childhood, in the home Browder shared with his 91-year-old grandmother when the two got into an argument, Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin DeBoni said. The confrontation escalated, and Browder shot Sprawls in the basement, DeBoni said.

Sprawls crawled up the stairs to the kitchen where Browder shot him again until Sprawls collapsed on the back door threshold, DeBoni said. Browder’s grandmother, who has dementia, went to investigate the noise and saw Sprawls lying in the doorway, according to DeBoni.

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Browder eventually called 911 and reported that a man was shot in his back yard, DeBoni said. Cops found Sprawls lying in the yard with a pistol in his hand. DeBoni said the gun was absolutely clean with no blood on it even though Sprawls’ hand was “mangled and covered in blood along with the rest of his body” after being shot 14 times.

Detectives also noticed bloody drag marks leading from the home’s back door to Sprawls’ shoes, he said. Five shell casings were found on top of the kitchen garbage can, DeBoni said. Browder’s grandmother allegedly told police she picked them up off the floor after kicking them earlier. Four more casings were reportedly found in the basement.

DeBoni said Browder showed no signs of physical injury and he did not have any blood or splatter on him. During an interview with detectives, Browder said Sprawls fired a gun at him in the basement and Sprawls was shot during a wild struggle for control of the firearm that moved throughout the house, DeBoni said. Police did not find any bullet holes in the basement from missed shots, he said.

In June 2019, Cook County prosecutors charged Browder, a six-time convicted felon, with Class X armed habitual criminal. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago later took the matter to federal court. He was on federal pretrial release at the time of Sprawls’ murder. Browder also has a pending misdemeanor state charge of driving under the influence and resisting, DeBoni said.

A defense attorney said Browder has four kids with two more on the way.

Illinois lawmakers who backed recently passed legislation that will eliminate cash bail in the state in 2023 often pointed to the federal pretrial release program as a successful model they wanted to build on.

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