San Antonio, Texas, September 29, 2016: Yesterday afternoon, Visiting Judge Dick Alcala sentenced convicted murderer and fugitive Kerry Gittens, age 26, to 50 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. On August 26, 2016, a Bexar County jury found Gittens guilty in the murder of Antwan Jones. The sentencing was held despite the defendant currently being a fugitive.
On November 15, 2014, Gittens and co-defendant Tyree Byrd showed up to a home in the 300 block of Vine Street on the city’s east side. In a back room of the home, Byrd and Gittens got into a confrontation with the victim’s brother. The victim, Antwan Jones, walked towards the backroom but was shot and killed by Byrd in the hallway. Gittens was a party and co-conspirator of Jones’ murder. Cell phone data evidence later linked both men driving to the home on Vine Street, at the home during the murder, and leaving the location. Gittens was later apprehended in Houston and Byrd was arrested in Ohio.
Gittens went to trial for Jones’ murder in late August of this year. Shortly before closing arguments were set to begin, Gittens told his attorney he was stepping away to use the bathroom, however, he never returned to the courtroom. Authorities later learned Gittens had cut off his GPS ankle monitor and fled. Closing arguments were conducted “in absentia,” or in absence of the defendant. Jurors took just under two hours to find Gittens guilty of murder.
During Gittens punishment hearing yesterday, prosecutors presented evidence of the defendant’s past criminal history, which included involvements in multiple shootings, and drug and weapon related arrests.
Before Judge Alcala sentenced Gittens, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Somers said, “Antwan was a productive member of this community and when Kerry Gittens murdered him, he took away a pillar from that community.”
U.S. Marshals are actively looking for Gittens. If you have any information regarding his whereabouts, please contact authorities at (210)335-TIPS(8477). Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Somers and Thom Nisbet from the Criminal Trial Division prosecuted the case against Gittens in the 226th District Court.