HOUSTON - After days of searching, the man police say pulled the trigger during a murder and robbery at a Houston Denny's restaurant is in custody.
The fourth and final suspect accused of murdering a father inside that Denny's surrendered Wednesday morning to the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force. Now all four suspects are charged with capital murder.
We spoke with the victim's son and the friend who witnessed it all to get their thoughts on the possibility of the death penalty.
Police say the four men shot and killed 64-year-old Greig Placette and injured a 43-year-old employee while robbing the Denny's near Memorial Park ton Aug. 26. Placette, of Katy, was trying to protect children during the robbery.
Police say 20-year-old Kenya Jackson surrendered early Wednesday morning, joining in custody Mario Hilton, Corey Hilton and Leroy Houston.
"It's hard. It's not really a relief because you think, 'My father's dead.' But now you have four young kids whose lives are over," said the victim's son, Drue Placette.
They're all facing capital murder charges. And the district attorney's office says the death penalty is on the table.
"I do hope they prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and seek the death penalty, especially for the one who killed my father," said Drue Placette "Why not spend the money that it would cost to keep these kids in prison for life on helping this community? Helping so that other kids in the area don't grow up with this mentality and do the same thing."
Jonathan Ochoa was one of victim's closest friends and he was with Greig Placette when he was killed.
"I'm glad to know they're all behind bars and they'll be going through the justice system. Hopefully, they'll get the punishment they deserve," Ochoa said.
Even if that means the death penalty.
"The punishment has to fit the crime basically. You just can't go into places and start shooting people," said Ochoa.
Both Drue and Ochoa say they look forward to the day in court when they'll finally get to come face to face with the accused murders.
On Tuesday, another suspect, 18-year-old Leroy Houston IV, was arrested and has a pending charge of capital murder. Houston was taken into custody without incident Monday night.
Two other suspects, 18-year-old Mario Hilton and 20-year-old Corey Hilton, were arrested last week. Police said Mario Hilton was still in jail when detectives connected him to the killing. Corey Hilton was out on bail and arrested over the weekend.
One of the suspected robbers, Leroy Houston, is expected in court on Thursday. At last check, Kenya Jackson is still being questioned by homicide detectives.
Suspect detained briefly the night of murder
According to police, Kenya Jackson was actually detained by police the night of the shooting at Denny's, but then released.
Police say it happened an hour and a half after the robbery. Jackson, Corey Hilton and Mario Hilton were back at their apartment in southeast Houston.
According to police, the men had all changed clothes and Mario Hilton allegedly had switched cars when he drove it into a neighbor who was on foot in front of the apartment complex.
Hilton then fled on foot. When police approached his apartment, they caught both Hiltons and Jackson crawling out of a window. However, police hadn't connected them yet to the Denny's murder.
Jackson was released, Corey Hilton was charged for illegally carrying a gun and Mario Hilton was charged with failure to stop and render.
Police say they returned to the apartment last with a search warrant after an informant revealed the men had bragged about the robbery and murder.
"Another witness came forward who said he had a conversation with a co-defendant who said all three of the men who were charged committed the robbery at Denny's," said the Harris County's assistant DA, Cameron Calligan.
The van used in the Denny's robbery was found in the parking lot.
Neighbors said the men were staying at the apartment with Jackson's girlfriend.
"There's kids around here. There's children around here, you know what I'm saying, and I don't feel like that makes any sense," said a neighbor.
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