Houston Man Sentenced to 60 Years for Double Murder

Houston Man Sentenced to 60 Years for Double Murder

A Houston man was sentenced to 60 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to murder for gunning down two men with an assault rifle while he was riding in the back of a pickup in 2022, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“This was more than just a premeditated act of gun violence — this defendant’s every intention was to hurt, maim and kill, and now two families will spend the rest of their lives in mourning,” Ogg said. “Prosecutors with our Homicide Division worked to get justice for these families, and this defendant will spend decades in prison.”

Kurt Whitten, 21, was facing life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder when he pleaded guilty to murder earlier this month for killing 20-year-old Jeremiah Joshua Ponce and 26-year-old Thomas Anthony Alvarado on July 27, 2022.

In court on Monday, the families of the two young men who were killed gave victim impact statements, and Whitten was formally sentenced to 60 years in prison.

On the night of the shooting, Whitten was walking home from a store near Aldine Westfield and Parker in the Eastex-Jensen area when he had an altercation with the two victims.

After the confrontation, Whitten went home and enlisted a friend from the neighborhood to drive him around in the friend’s black pickup to find the two young men.

Whitten, while riding in the back of the truck with an assault rifle, saw the two victims in a white car near the area of the confrontation. Whitten stood up in the bed of the truck and fired more than two dozen bullets into their car, killing both young men. Whitten later torched the truck to try to destroy evidence of the crime.

An eyewitness to the shooting gave investigators details about the black truck and was able to describe Whitten’s clothes because he was standing up while he was shooting. Officers with the Houston Police Department were able to track down the truck and arrest Whitten.

Assistant District Attorneys Megan Long and Maroun Koutani, who are both assigned to the Homicide Division of the DA’s Office, prosecuted the case.

“He was out hunting these two young men, and he shot at least 24 times with high-caliber bullets — the kind of bullets that will go through brick,” Long said. “Two families lost sons who were in their 20s, and no parent should ever have to bury their child, so hopefully this will help them get closure on what happened.”

Whitten will have to serve at least half of the sentence in prison before he will be eligible for parole. He cannot appeal the conviction or the sentence.

The case against the driver of the truck is pending.