Houston Gang Member Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole for Killing 11-Year-Old
A Houston gang member, Desmond Hawkins, 23, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a Harris County jury found him guilty of capital murder. District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the verdict this week.
The conviction stems from the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Dominic Sumicek on October 26, 2020. Hawkins also killed Dominic’s stepfather, 41-year-old Menuell Solomon, during the same incident. Intentionally taking the life of a child under the age of 14 is classified as a capital crime.
Disturbingly, at the time of the 2020 murders, Hawkins was out on bond for a previous capital murder case from October 10, 2016. In that earlier incident, Hawkins was arrested for the murder of John Pye, a man he knew, during a robbery.
Hawkins had been released on bond for the 2016 case while wearing an ankle monitor equipped with a GPS tracker. Tragically, it was this same GPS tracker that placed him at the scene of the 2020 double homicide.
Approximately one week prior to the fatal shooting, Menuell Solomon reported to the police that an unknown assailant had attempted to kill him by firing shots at him while he was parking his Mercedes-Benz sedan in his west Houston townhouse driveway. Solomon expressed confusion over the motive behind the attack.
On the day of the murders, GPS monitoring records indicated that Hawkins had been lying in wait near Solomon’s driveway for several hours, eventually cutting a hole in a chain-link fence to expedite his approach to the scene. As Solomon backed his car into the driveway, Hawkins emerged from the fence hole and opened fire, fatally shooting 11-year-old Dominic twice and Menuell Solomon four times.
Surveillance footage from nearby cameras further corroborated Hawkins’ presence at the scene, with the ankle monitor visible on his leg as he approached the crime scene.
The motive behind Hawkins’ targeting of Solomon remains unclear.
Following a two-week trial during which jurors reviewed all available evidence, Hawkins was swiftly convicted of capital murder. As a result, he has been automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of 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.”