HOUSTON - The Harris County District Attorney's Office announced Antonio E. Batres, 23, was sentenced on Friday to 35 years in prison for shooting a 49-year-old accused shoplifter, Troy Odom, in the back at a Family Dollar Store.
Batres was convicted of murder by a Harris County jury in a five-day trial for the shooting on the 4500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd on April 17, 2022.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said."Gun violence in Harris County is out of control because of situations like this in which someone thinks they can take a life because they are mad," Ogg said. "The victim in this case had a family and was loved, and he should still be with us today."
The trial revealed that Batres, a clerk at the store, and another coworker caught Odom shoplifting several bottles of motor oil, according to Ogg.
A verbal argument turned into a physical fight as Odom tried to go out the front door, which an employee locked to keep him from leaving. The fight continued as the two men scuffled on the floor as Odom tried to leave.
Officials say the video surveillance showed that Batres pulled a semi-automatic firearm on Odom during the fight, after which he emptied his pockets and returned the motor oil. After the front doors were unlocked, Odom left the store.
As he was walking away, Batres followed him out and shot him in the back on the sidewalk in front of the store, according to authorities.
The first shot caused Odom to turn around and Batres unloaded a total of 12 shots, hitting Odom in his arms, legs and torso as he raised his arms to defend himself.
Heather Axline, assistant district attorney for the Trial Bureau, prosecuted the case with ADA Lindsey Pearson. Axline said, "Mr. Odom didn’t have a gun or a weapon, he was not the first aggressor, and was walking away when he was fatally shot on Easter Sunday".
Officials say the autopsy showed that he had 15 gunshot wounds, including several that went through his arms as he tried to defend himself.
After the shooting, authorities said Batres went back inside and called 911 to report the theft and told dispatchers that Odom was bleeding to death right outside.
Authorities said Batres must serve at least half of the prison sentence before he will be eligible for parole.