Houston Man Sentenced to 60 Years for Double Murder in 2022 Shooting

Houston Man Sentenced to 60 Years for Double Murder in 2022 Shooting
Kurt Whitten

A Houston man was sentenced to 60 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to murder for gunning down two men with an assault rifle while riding in the back of a pickup truck in 2022, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

Kurt Whitten, 21, pleaded guilty to killing 20-year-old Jeremiah Joshua Ponce and 26-year-old Thomas Anthony Alvarado on July 27, 2022. Facing life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder, Whitten accepted a plea deal earlier this month.

“This was more than just a premeditated act of gun violence — this defendant’s every intention was to hurt, maim, and kill, and now two families will spend the rest of their lives in mourning,” Ogg said. “Prosecutors with our Homicide Division worked to get justice for these families, and this defendant will spend decades in prison.”

The incident began when Whitten had an altercation with the two victims while walking home from a store near Aldine Westfield and Parker in the Eastex-Jensen area. After the confrontation, Whitten enlisted a friend to drive him around in a black pickup truck to find the victims. When he saw the two men in a white car, he stood up in the bed of the truck and fired more than two dozen bullets into their car, killing both.

An eyewitness provided details about the black truck and described Whitten’s clothing, leading Houston Police Department officers to track down and arrest Whitten. He later attempted to destroy evidence by torching the truck.

In court on Monday, the families of the victims gave impact statements before Whitten was formally sentenced.

Assistant District Attorneys Megan Long and Maroun Koutani, who prosecuted the case, emphasized the severity of Whitten’s actions. “He was out hunting these two young men, and he shot at least 24 times with high-caliber bullets — the kind of bullets that will go through brick,” Long said.

Whitten will serve at least 30 years before he is eligible for parole and cannot appeal the conviction or sentence.

The case against the driver of the truck is still pending.