HOUSTON – A Houston gang member was sentenced to life in prison without parole after a jury convicted him of killing an 11-year-old boy and the child’s stepfather while he was released on bond for a capital murder committed four years earlier, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Wednesday.
Desmond Hawkins, 23, was convicted of capital murder for fatally shooting Dominic Sumicek on Oct. 26, 2020. Authorities said Hawkins shot and killed the boy and his stepfather, 41-year-old Menuell Solomon, while the two sat in Solomon’s car outside their home.
“A little boy with his whole life ahead of him was murdered because of a cold-blooded ambush in broad daylight,” Ogg said. “This was a capital murder, and the appropriate sentence is life in prison without parole.”
At the time of Sumicek’s murder, investigators said Hawkins was free on bond for a capital murder that occurred on Oct. 10, 2016. In that case, authorities said Hawkins was arrested for shooting, killing and robbing John Pye, a man he knew. Hawkins was then released on bond with an ankle monitor equipped with a GPS tracker. According to Ogg, he was wearing the monitor when he killed the boy and his stepfather four years later.
About a week before the shooting, investigators said the boy’s 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.
Authorities said on the day of the murder, the GPS monitor that Hawkins was wearing showed that he was walking around Solomon’s driveway and waiting for him to come home. Hawkins cut a hole in the chain-link fence to get to the man faster and waited for at least three hours for Solomon to come home to murder him, Ogg said.
As Solomon backed into his driveway with the child in the passenger seat at about 4:30 p.m., Hawkins reportedly went through the hole in the fence, shot the 11-year-old twice and then shot Solomon four times, killing them both.
Along with the GPS monitoring records, investigators said surveillance video from nearby cameras showed Hawkins running toward the scene, wearing the ankle monitor. Ogg said it remains unclear why Hawkins targeted Solomon.
Jurors listened to all of the available evidence during a two-week trial before convicting Hawkins late Monday. He was automatically sentenced to life in prison and will never be eligible for 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 said 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.”