Fourth suspect in Denny's shooting surrenders

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 9:13 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 11 at 6:40 PM

Denny's shooting

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HOUSTON — The fourth suspect in a deadly shooting at a Heights-area Denny’s surrendered Wednesday morning.

Kenya Jackson was with two women and an attorney when he turned himself in at the Harris County Jail.

KHOU 11 News got exclusive video of his surrender.

"Please don’t put him on the news, don’t put him on the news, that is embarrassing," one woman yelled at KHOU 11 News Reporter Tim Wetzel. "Can y’all get that camera out the way?"

She then told Jackson to hold his head down.

The woman, who was carrying a child, flipped off our cameras after Jackson was taken inside the building.

"I don’t want to talk to y’all! He didn’t do (expletive), he’s innocent," she said. "Get that camera away from me."

"There ain’t nothing to talk about. He didn’t kill nobody, he didn’t kill nobody, he didn’t kill nobody," the other woman yelled. She said the media should focus on the Trayvon Martin case.

Jackson had been on the run since he and three others allegedly held up the restaurant, killed a customer and wounded an employee on August 26.

HPD investigators said three suspects, wearing bandanas and masks, fired shots when they entered the Denny’s in the 7300 block of Washington Avenue. They ordered everyone to the floor and started robbing the customers.

Before fleeing the scene, they shot 64-year-old Robert Placette, who was trying to shield some children. The Katy man later died at the hospital.

"It gives me actually a lot of comfort ...my dad’s dead, there’s nothing that can be done about that, but at least the police have done a great job of stopping them from hurting somebody else," said Drue Placette, the victim’s son. "The fact is, they had a ruthless mentality to do that."

The wounded worker, 43, survived.

The details, released in court documents filed over the weekend, identify brothers Mario and Corey Hilton, along with Leroy Houston and Jackson as the four young men involved in the robbery.

Police said Mario, 18, was the getaway driver.

Police began to track the suspects down, not knowing they ran across three of them almost immediately after the shooting. But since it was for an unrelated incident, officers did not connect the suspects to the earlier murder.

According to court documents, police were called to the 5300 block of Coke Street an hour after the shooting. A woman reported she had been involved in a minor hit-and-run accident and identified a vehicle driven by Mario Hilton, a vehicle different than the van reportedly used in the Denny’s robbery. Police reports say officers caught the Hilton brothers and Jackson crawling out of an apartment window. All three were detained for questioning, but only Corey Hilton was arrested because he has a prior felony conviction and police found him in possession of a .40 caliber handgun. He posted bond and was released from jail.

Days later, police say a source came forward identifying the men as the Denny’s robbers. Investigators said a friend of the suspects told police the four talked openly about the robbery and the murder of the customer. Court documents indicate that’s when police made a connection to the hit-and-run incident.

Prosecutors said evidence they have since found in the apartment appears to link the men to the Denny’s murder.

"A lot of the outfits that were captured on surveillance video of the capital murder taking place matched the description of items recovered from the apartment," said prosecutor Cameron Calligan.

Drue Placette said Houstonians shouldn’t hate the suspects, they should hate the culture that led them down a path of violent crime.

"All these problems in Houston they’re not about race. They’re about cultures and these mentalities these kids are being taught," Placette said. "You can take people from different ethnicities and the environment they’re raised in will dictate a lot of who they become and people have got to realize that."

Jonathan Ochoa, who was having dinner with Robert Placette in the Denny’s that night, was relieved to hear the final suspect is behind bars.

"You know I’m glad I’m not face to face with this guy.....yet," Ochoa said.

Police said they don’t know yet which of the suspects fired the shots that killed Placette or injured the employee.

All four suspects are charged with capital murder.

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