A documented Houston gang member was sentenced to life in prison without parole this week after a Harris County jury convicted him of capital murder for killing an 11-year-old after having been released on bond for a capital murder committed four years earlier, District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.
“A little boy with his whole life ahead of him was murdered because of a cold-blooded ambush in broad daylight,” Ogg said. “This was a capital murder, and the appropriate sentence is life in prison without parole.”
Desmond Hawkins, 23, was convicted of capital murder for fatally shooting 11-year-old Dominic Sumicek on October 26, 2020. Hawkins shot and killed the boy and his stepfather, 41-year-old Menuell Solomon, while the two sat in Solomon’s car outside their home. Intentionally killing a child under the age of 14 is a capital crime.
At the time of 11-year-old Dominic’s murder, Hawkins was free on bond for a capital murder that occurred on October 10, 2016. In that case, Hawkins was arrested for shooting and killing John Pye, a man Hawkins knew, while Hawkins was robbing Pye.
Hawkins was then released on bond with an ankle monitor equipped with a GPS tracker. Hawkins was wearing the monitor when he killed the 11-year-old boy and his stepfather four years later.
About a week before the shooting, the boy’s stepfather reported to police that a man he did not know tried to kill him by shooting at him while he was parking his Mercedes-Benz sedan in the driveway of his west Houston townhouse. Solomon told police he did not know why he had been targeted.
On the day of the murder, the GPS monitor that Hawkins was wearing showed that he was lying in wait, walking around Solomon’s driveway, waiting for Solomon to come home. Hawkins cut a hole in the chain-link fence to get to Solomon faster and waited for at least three hours for Solomon to come home to carry out the killing.
As Solomon backed into his driveway with his 11-year-old stepson in the passenger seat at about 4:30 p.m., Hawkins emerged from the hole in the fence, shot the 11-year-old twice and then shot Solomon four times, killing them both almost instantly.
Along with the GPS monitoring records, surveillance video from nearby cameras showed Hawkins running toward the murder scene, wearing the ankle monitor.
It remains unclear why Hawkins targeted Solomon.
Jurors listened to all of the available evidence during a two-week trial before quickly convicting Hawkins of capital murder late Monday. He was automatically sentenced to life in prison and will never be eligible for parole.
Assistant District Attorney Nancy Ta prosecuted the case with ADA Christopher Condon, who are both assigned to the Harris County District Attorney’s specialized Homicide Division.
“Based on what we saw in the evidence, we believe this was an orchestrated hit,” Condon said. “The jury did the right thing in handing down a conviction for capital murder.”
Ta added that the time of day and the fact that a hole was cut in a fence to gain easy access were evidence of a premeditated ambush.
“The defendant laid in wait for three hours, during the light of day to execute a young boy and his stepfather,” Ta said. “Hawkins made a decision to end Dominic’s life before the boy could even turn 12, and now 12 citizens of Harris County have decided how Hawkins will spend the rest of his.”
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