Plea deal made in Missouri City businessman's death at gambling operation
RICHMOND, Texas – A man accused of shooting and killing a Missouri City businessman during a 2014 aggravated robbery attempt pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder, among other charges.
Eric Norris pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and aggravated robbery in addition to the murder charge. He was sentenced to three life sentences, to be served concurrently.
Investigators said that on the night of July 17, 2014, two men wearing masks and carrying assault-type rifles shot and killed Donald Leonetti and wounded another man at 12800 Trinity Drive in Stafford.
There, investigators found an underground gambling operation.
"They're saying a high-stakes gambling (event) was going on here at this location," a Stafford officer said at the time of the incident, adding that the men stormed the office, demanding wallets and cash off the poker table.
At the time of the deadly assault, the family released the following statement:
"Donald Leonetti, founder of Leonetti Graphics was a beloved and favorite member of the Fort Bend and Houston Community. He was an amazing husband, father, employer and friend. His family and friends have a giant whole (sic) in their hearts and are grieving. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers."
Police believed at the time that it may have been an inside job by someone with knowledge of the time and place the game was played.
Norris was arrested after his family discovered that he had some of the victim's personal identifiers and property when he attempted to burn the items at a relative’s home, according to investigators. Family members were able to collect those items and contacted the Stafford Police Department. Norris was arrested July 31, 2014.
The other robber in the case has yet to be identified.
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