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Man implicated in catalytic converter thefts is sentenced to 45 years for shooting 8-year-old in Houston’s Third Ward

Richard Spiller was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

November 3, 2022

A Houston man was sentenced to 45 years in prison for shooting an 8-year-old in the knee during an argument in Houston’s Third Ward in 2019, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Thursday.

“This repeat offender shot an 8-year-old and then, while free on bond, was arrested for stealing catalytic converters from City of Houston vehicles,” Ogg said. “He has had enough second chances and he cannot be trusted to live by the rules in our society.”

Richard Spiller, 31, was facing a punishment range of 25 years to life in prison because of his criminal history. A jury found him guilty of aggravated assault causing bodily injury, and visiting state District Judge Jim Anderson sentenced him on Wednesday to 45 years in prison.

Spiller was convicted of shooting an 8-year-old in the leg while firing into a crowd of people during an argument on April 5, 2019. The child had been playing with a basketball with Spiller’s son, who was about 4 years older. The two boys got into an argument and the younger boy slapped the older boy. Spiller’s son went home and told his parents that an adult had slapped him. Spiller went to the 8-year-old’s home and demanded to know what happened, and an argument ensued.

Spiller then left and later returned with a van full of people to continue the argument. Spiller returned for a third time on foot and started shooting at the 8-year-old’s family, who were on the porch of a neighbor’s home in the 7800 block of Tierwester Street.

After shooting at the group, and hitting the boy and a car, Spiller fled. He was arrested April 11, 2019.

“He turned a kids’ fight into a gunfight,” said Assistant District Attorney Shanice Newton, who prosecuted the case in the four-day trial. “He could have stopped whenever he wanted, but he kept coming back until he hurt a child. He was relentless.”

Newton said the boy, who is now 11, survived but is still in pain when he tries to play normally, and he’ll never be able to play contact sports.

During the punishment hearing, Newton presented evidence that Spiller worked with three people to steal catalytic converters from City of Houston vehicles, costing the city at least $500,000. He also has a previous conviction for dog fighting.

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