A Houston man who robbed a shoe store and then, while on bond, fatally shot a Texas Southern University student during an armed robbery was sentenced to 45 years in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Sunday.
“It is obvious that gun crime is out of control when a suspect who is free on bond for armed robbery can shoot someone while committing another armed robbery,” Ogg said. “In this case, the defendant killed someone while trying to steal marijuana and a video game console, and now he will spend decades in prison.”
Shanden Powell, 24, pleaded guilty on Friday to murder in exchange for 45 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in exchange for 40 years in prison. Those sentences will run concurrently.
Powell first robbed the Payless Shoe Store on Scott Street in Houston’s Third Ward and was arrested as he was running away on Sept. 2, 2018.
Witnesses said he walked in with both hands on a pistol with a laser sight and demanded money from the register from a clerk, who pushed an alarm button. Responding officers stopped Powell as he ran from the store. When they asked why he was running, he said he was running to school. Since it was Sunday, officers detained him and, after talking to witnesses, arrested him for the robbery.
Powell was freed on bond and, seven months later, he contacted 23-year-old Elzima Hines on Snapchat to arrange to buy marijuana. Hines, a student at TSU, was playing video games with friends at an apartment complex near the university. He agreed to the deal and then arranged the daytime meeting.
Powell, whose Snapchat handle was “KillerPowell5,” continued to message Hines until he arrived at Hines’ apartment about 1:45 p.m. on April 2, 2019.
Powell went into the apartment, shot Hines, took the marijuana and a PlayStation and left. Surveillance video showed him arriving and leaving with the gaming device.
Assistant District Attorney Karen Barney, who prosecuted the case with ADA Michael Abner, said Powell was a ruthless killer who victimized a small-time marijuana dealer who never carried weapons.
“Everyone at TSU said Hines was just a really nice guy who did not have any weapons, he did not have a gun,” Barney said. “He was buying marijuana in a state where it was legal and selling it here, so we thought of him as just a kid who was robbed and killed for his property.”
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