Man accused in catalytic converter thefts gets 45 years after shooting 8-year-old in Third Ward, DA says

Richard Spiller, 31, was facing a punishment range of 25 years to life in prison because of his criminal history, Ogg said in a news release. A jury found him guilty of aggravated assault causing bodily injury and he was sentenced to 45 years in prison Wednesday.

HOUSTON – A Houston man was sentenced to 45 years in prison for shooting an 8-year-old in the knee during an argument in Houston’s Third Ward in 2019, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said.

Richard Spiller, 31, was facing a punishment range of 25 years to life in prison because of his criminal history, Ogg said in a news release. A jury found him guilty of aggravated assault causing bodily injury and he was sentenced to 45 years in prison Wednesday.

According to investigators, Spiller was convicted of shooting an 8-year-old in the leg while firing into a crowd of people during an argument on April 5, 2019. The child had been playing basketball with Spiller’s son, who was about four years older. Investigators said the two boys got into an argument and the younger boy slapped the older boy. Spiller’s son went home and told his parents that an adult had slapped him. Spiller went to the 8-year-old’s home and demanded to know what happened, and an argument ensued, the district attorney’s office said.

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Investigators said Spiller left and later returned with a van full of people to continue the argument. Spiller returned for a third time on foot and reportedly started shooting at the 8-year-old’s family, who were on the porch of a neighbor’s home in the 7800 block of Tierwester Street.

Ogg said after shooting at the group, hitting the boy and a car, Spiller fled the scene. He was arrested April 11, 2019.

“This repeat offender shot an 8-year-old and then, while free on bond, was arrested for stealing catalytic converters from City of Houston vehicles,” Ogg said. “He has had enough second chances and he cannot be trusted to live by the rules in our society.”

“He turned a kids’ fight into a gunfight,” said Assistant District Attorney Shanice Newton, who prosecuted the case in the four-day trial. “He could have stopped whenever he wanted, but he kept coming back until he hurt a child. He was relentless.”

Newton said the victim, who is now 11 years old, survived but is normally in pain when he tries to play and will never be able to play contact sports as a result of the shooting.

During the punishment hearing, Ogg said Newton presented evidence that Spiller worked with three people to steal catalytic converters from City of Houston vehicles, costing the city at least $500,000. He also has a previous conviction for dog fighting, investigators said.


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