A Houston man was sentenced to 50 years in prison last week for killing a former high school classmate during a gathering of old friends at the Atascocita High School football field in 2020, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.
“Far too often we see disagreements, arguments and fights escalate into murders because someone wants to start shooting,” Ogg said. “This young man had a promising future — he had just signed with a university to go play football — and his life was ended in an instant because of a gun. We work hard every day not just to get justice for the families, but to try to end gun violence.”
A jury sentenced Jaqwaun Glenn Pradia, 22, to 50 years on Thursday after convicting him of murder during a weeklong trial for the fatal shooting of Eric Demetris Willis about 10:45 a.m. March 15, 2020.
That Sunday morning, Willis and several former students, who were friends of Willis and the defendant, met at the high school football field to play in a friendly seven-on-seven football game.
Surveillance footage and testimony by witnesses showed that the defendant was driven to the field, jumped out of the vehicle and charged the field, where he shot 19-year-old Willis at least four times. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.
Assistant District Attorney Amanda Benavides, a chief in the trial bureau who prosecuted the case, said we may never know why Pradia killed Willis, even though he testified at trial.
“It may have been things that happened while they were in high school, and it was probably just one-sided, but we’ll probably never really know the reason,” she said. “The defendant had the opportunity to explain this senseless killing when he testified, and he didn’t.”
Benavides said Willis spent the year after graduating high school playing wide receiver at a junior college and was expected to play football for a university in Oklahoma the following autumn.
“He was supposed to have a career, a family and great life, but none of that will happen now because of what the defendant did,” she said.
Benavides noted that Pradia was convicted of murder on Thursday, which was the fourth anniversary of Willis’ graduation from high school.
The defendant must serve at least half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Do you like this page?