Marijuana Dispute Ends in Murder Conviction

DA Charme Allen announces that prosecutors in the Major Crimes Unit obtained convictions against a man who stabbed and killed a middleman during a marijuana sale.  Mark Lowayne Venson, 57, was convicted of Second Degree Murder and Tampering with Evidence.  Judge Scott Green set the case for sentencing on April 5 where Venson faces fifteen to sixty years to serve in the Tennessee Department of Correction.

In a three-day trial, Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Hill and Jordan Murray explained to the jury that on February 6, 2023, Venson went the Vista at Summit Hill Apartments to purchase marijuana.  In the breezeway, Venson gave $40 to the victim who was a runner for one of the drug dealers in the apartment complex.  The victim took the $40 to the marijuana supplier and returned to the parking lot to give Venson his marijuana.  Venson began arguing with the victim about the amount of marijuana provided and demanded either money back or more marijuana.  The victim tried to walk away from the situation, but Venson followed him up a stairwell.  Venson drew a knife and stabbed the victim in the chest and shoulder and slashed him across the head and ear.  Venson fled the scene and threw away the knife, but he was apprehended later in the day by the Knoxville Police Department.

“This is another example of a senseless case where an argument ends with someone pulling a weapon and someone else dying,” said DA Allen.

Second Degree Murder is a Class A felony that carries a punishment between fifteen and sixty years in prison.  Tampering with Evidence is a Class C felony that carries three to fifteen years.  Venson has nine prior felony convictions from Kentucky and Sumner County, Tennessee.  Assistant Victim Witness Coordinator Kara Sowards aided in the prosecution of this case.

If you have any questions, please contact Sean McDermott at 865-215-2515 or For more information about the District Attorney’s Office, visit our website at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.