A Houston man was sentenced late Friday to 35 years in prison for shooting an accused shoplifter in the back at a Family Dollar Store in the 4500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on Easter Sunday in 2022, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.
“Gun violence in Harris County is out of control because of situations like this in which someone thinks they can take a life because they are mad,” Ogg said. “The victim in this case had a family and was loved, and he should still be with us today.”
Antonio Batres, 23, was convicted of murder by a Harris County jury in a five-day trial for shooting 49-year-old Troy Odom on Sunday, April 17, 2022. After the verdict, Batres asked that his punishment be determined by the judge, who handed down a 35-year sentence.
At trial, it was undisputed that Odom was shoplifting several bottles of motor oil when he was confronted by Batres, who was a clerk at the store, and another co-worker.
A verbal argument turned into a physical fight as Odom tried to go out the front door, which an employee locked to keep him from leaving. The fracas continued as the two men scuffled on the floor as Odom tried to leave.
Surveillance video showed that the fight culminated with Batres pulling a semi-automatic pistol on Odom who then emptied his pockets and gave back the motor oil.
After the front doors were unlocked, Odom left the store. As he was walking away, Batres followed him out and shot him in the back on the sidewalk in front of the store. The first shot caused Odom to turn around and Batres unloaded a total of 12 shots, hitting Odom in his arms, legs and torso as he flailed his limbs to defend himself. The autopsy showed that he had 15 gunshot wounds, including several that went through his arms as he tried to defend himself.
Batres then went back inside and called 911 to report the theft. After speaking with the 911 operator for several minutes, he admitted that Odom was bleeding to death right outside.
Assistant District Attorney Heather Axline, who is a chief prosecutor in the DA’s Trial Bureau, prosecuted the case with ADA Lindsey Pearson.
“Mr. Odom didn’t have a gun or a weapon, he was not the first aggressor, and was walking away when he was fatally shot on Easter Sunday,” Axline said. “They may have exchanged words, but words, even threats, are not enough to justify deadly force, and the jury rejected any suggestion that this was self-defense.”
Batres must serve at least half of the prison sentence before he will be eligible for parole.
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