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Toya Smith's family celebrates her 50th birthday, almost 7 years after she was killed in quadruple murder

Erbie Bowser, now 51, is serving life without parole for capital murder. Bowser was a former Mavericks ManiAAC dancer.

DALLAS, Texas — The hurt, the loss, and the what-ifs a Dallas family has carried for years, were clear and obvious inside Lincoln Memorial Cemetery Thursday evening. 

The family of 43-year-old Toya Smith and 17-year-old Tasmia Allen gathered at the mother and daughter's graves for what would have been Smith's 50th birthday had she not been murdered alongside Allen in 2013. 

Credit: Smith Family
Toya Smith (left) and her daughter Tasmia Allen.

A plan had been in place for years to celebrate Smith's 50th, per her sister Sheritha. The two wanted to go to Las Vegas for the milestone, but instead, the occasion was celebrated inside a graveyard. 

"I just never imagined coming to a grave," Smith said. "She's my only sister, and I miss her." 

Four murders, two cities

Credit: WFAA
Mugshot of Erbie Bowser.

On August 7, 2013, now 51-year-old Erbie Bowser shot and killed Smith and her daughter inside their home. 

Bowser was living with Smith (whom he was dating) and was told by her to move out the day of the killings. 

Smith's son Storm Malone and one of Allen's friends were seriously injured during the violence. 

Per court records, Bowser drove to the DeSoto home of his estranged wife after the killings and continued his rampage. 

That's where he killed Zina Bowser, 47, and her daughter Neima Williams, 28. 

Credit: WFAA
Zina Bowser (left) and her daughter Neima Williams.

Bowser also shot and wounded his estranged wife's sons who ultimately survived. Police also said that he detonated a hand grenade in the house during the attack. 

RELATED: Rampage suspect faces additional counts of capital murder

At trial, Bowser pleaded insanity but jurors didn't agree and convicted him of capital murder. Bowser is a military veteran and his defense attorneys argued that his mental illness enabled him to act out delusionary military situations. 

Credit: WFAA
Mugshot of Erbie Bowser.

In May of 2017, he was sentenced to life without parole in prison. 

RELATED: Veteran, ex-Mavericks ManiAAC gets life for killings

Bowser was also, at one time, a ManiAAC for the Dallas Mavericks, a hip-hop dance troupe that performs at games. 

"People now know their names..."

Sheritha Smith arrived with family at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery Thursday evening, still impacted by what happened on August 7. 

The deaths of her sister and niece are the epitome of senseless and show just how dangerous a road of domestic violence can be. 

Credit: Smith Family
Storm Malone (left), Toya Smith (center) and Tasmia Allen pose for a photo.

"People now know their names," Smith said. "Nobody should ever have to come and visit a family at a grave just because their lives were taken at the hands of someone else." 

Smith now works with multiple communities as an advocate against domestic violence.  According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience physical violence by their intimate partner at some point during their lifetimes.  

Intimate partner violence occurs in over 10 million people each year.

Before Thursday, Smith asked friends on Facebook to write cards to her sister for her 50th and to mail them. A woman from Australia even saw the post and e-mailed one to be printed out. 

A testament to how far pain, no matter its severity, can stretch and be felt. 

Smith placed each card on a stick and placed them around her sister's headstone. She said that she comes to grieve at Smith's burial place often. 

"Birthdays, holidays, we have to come and celebrate with them," she said. "We have to." 

Smith said her sister would have had a larger than life birthday, adding that her life ended too soon. 

"It would all be about Toya, all about Toya," Smith said. "And that's the way it should be." 

A few moments of reflection turned into hugs, crying and an embrace with family. 

Almost seven years later, a family hasn't forgotten. 

If you'd like to send Toya a birthday card you can write one to PO Box 411533, Dallas, Texas 75241. 

Credit: WFAA
A family photo of Smith and her children.

More on WFAA: 

Texas carries out nation's first execution of 2020 for domestic violence slaying in Collin County

Friend: Denton woman kicked boyfriend out hours before she was shot and killed

Dallas shooting highlights 'pervasiveness' of domestic violence, women's shelter CEO says

Domestic violence shelter shares 7-year-old's heartbreaking letter to Santa

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