A Houston man was sentenced to life in prison without parole late Thursday after being convicted of capital murder in the robbery and shooting of an employee at a Sunnyside recording studio specializing in rap and hip hop, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.
“This was an intentional and premeditated armed robbery and shootout,” Ogg said. “This defendant gunned down a man who was a good father and a loving grandfather for practically nothing, and because of that, this defendant belongs in prison for the rest of his life.”
Ethan Jenkins, 28, was convicted of capital murder by a Harris County jury for robbing and killing 42-year-old Jon Whitfield at about 10 p.m. on March 25, 2019.
Jenkins took his mother’s tan Suburban to HKMG (Hoodkats Music Group) at 4119 Reed Road in a strip mall across the street from Worthing High School.
Jenkins went into a smoke shop in the mall for a few minutes but did not buy anything. Instead, he watched the parking lot as people left the recording studio. After most of the people had left, Jenkins came out of the store, got a gun out of his vehicle and went into the recording studio. Surveillance video shows Jenkins walking in and immediately pulling the pistol and making demands.
Whitfield, who was employed by the recording studio and helped with security, was also armed. He pulled his gun, and the two men exchanged gunfire. Whitfield was killed, and Jenkins then ransacked the studio. He forced another employee at gunpoint to show him where the valuables were.
Assistant District Attorney Napoleon Stewart, a Chief in the DA’s Organized Crime Division, prosecuted the case with ADA Jacob Salinas in a four-day trial.
“He waited in the smoke shop for the right time to strike, then went to his car to arm himself and then went in on the attack—it was well-planned out,” Stewart said. “Then, he put the hot pistol to the neck of the other employee and marched him around the studio looking for the money and made that employee damage the surveillance video equipment.”
After Jenkins was convicted of capital murder, he was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole.
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