Mastermind Behind Fatal Ambush Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing 11-Year-Old Boy and His Father

Mastermind Behind Fatal Ambush Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing 11-Year-Old Boy and His Father

The mastermind who orchestrated a fatal ambush that killed an 11-year-old boy and the boy’s stepfather in their driveway in 2020 was sentenced to life in prison without parole this week, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“This defendant’s intentions were clear: he wanted to commit murder and was trying to hide behind the triggerman who killed an innocent man and a little boy in broad daylight,” Ogg said. “We are grateful to the jurors who agreed that a capital murder conviction is the right result because it means this man can never again threaten our community.”

Dewayne Batiste, 43, was convicted of capital murder for his role in killing 11-year-old Dominic Sumicek and his 41-year-old stepfather, Menuell Solomon, as the two sat in Solomon’s car outside their home on October 26, 2020.

Batiste is the second man to be convicted in the premeditated and brazen ambush that shocked and saddened Houstonians.

About a week before the fatal shooting, Solomon, the 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, but prosecutors believe he was the victim of an attempted armed robbery by Batiste.

Batiste dropped his cell phone during that shooting and was captured on video by a neighbor’s doorbell camera.

Prosecutors believe Batiste, a habitual offender, arranged to have Solomon killed to escape any accountability for the attempted armed robbery.

About a week after the robbery attempt, Batiste and a documented gang member named Desmond Hawkins took separate cars from a house in north Houston and parked at an apartment complex where they could see Solomon’s townhouse. They waited in the parked cars for at least three hours for Solomon to come home.

Solomon arrived at home with his stepson at 4:12 p.m. As Solomon backed into his driveway, Hawkins emerged from a hole cut in the chain link fence at the apartment complex, ran to the car, shot the 11-year-old twice, and then shot Solomon four times, killing them both.

Hawkins then ran back to his car and he and Batiste fled the area in separate vehicles. The entire attack took just 49 seconds.

Hawkins, who was on bond for a different capital murder, was wearing a GPS monitor and was soon arrested for the double murder by detectives with the Houston Police Department.

While trying to determine a motive for the ambush, HPD detectives arrested Batiste. Investigators believe three other men are connected to the armed robbery and the fatal attack. Anyone with information on the identities of those men is urged to call Crime Stoppers of Houston or the Houston Police Department.

Hawkins, the triggerman, was convicted of capital murder in September and was also sentenced to life in prison without parole.

After a five-day trial, jurors on Thursday convicted Batiste of capital murder for his role in directing and participating in the deaths. He was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Condon prosecuted the case with ADA Elizabeth Liberman, who are both assigned to the Harris County District Attorney’s specialized Homicide Division.

Condon credited detectives with the Houston Police Department for identifying and arresting not only the triggerman, but also the man who organized the murders.

“We believe that the murders were clean-up for the earlier attempted aggravated robbery, and Dewayne Batiste tried to wrap himself in a cloak of deniability—he made sure he stayed hidden and had someone else do his dirty work for him,” Condon said. “At the end of the day, if not for the actions of Dewayne Batiste, 11-year-old Dominic Sumicek would now be a freshman in high school.”