HOUSTON (KIAH) — It was a 2020 murder that rocked the Harris County community of Atascocita. Now the man convicted of the crime, will do the time, for decades to come.

CW39 Houston Jaqwaun Glenn Pradia Convicted Murderer
Jaqwaun Glenn Pradia Photo Courtesy, Harris Co. D.A.

A jury sentenced Jaqwaun Glenn Pradia, 22, to 50 years in prison after convicting him of murder, during a weeklong trial, for the fatal shooting of Eric Demetris Willis. The two men were former high school classmates.

On March 15, 2020, about 10:45 a.m., Pradia and Willis were with a gathering of old friends, at the Atascocita High School football field.

That Sunday morning, Willis and several former students, who were friends of Willis and the defendant, met at the high school football field to play in a friendly 7-on-7 football game. Surveillance footage and testimony by witnesses showed that the defendant was driven to the field, jumped out of the vehicle and charged the field, where he shot 19-year-old Willis at least four times. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.

“Far too often we see disagreements, arguments and fights escalate into murders because someone wants to start shooting,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “This young man had a promising future — he had just signed with a university to go play football — and his life was ended in an instant because of a gun. We work hard every day not just to get justice for the families, but to try to end gun violence.”

CW39 Houston Murder Victim Eric Demetris Willis
Eric Demetris Willis/ Photo Courtesy, Harris Co. D.A.

Assistant District Attorney Amanda Benavides, a chief in the trial bureau who prosecuted the case, said we may never know why Pradia killed Willis, even though he testified at trial. “It may have been things that happened while they were in high school, and it was probably just one-sided, but we’ll probably never really know the reason,” she said. “The defendant had the opportunity to explain this senseless killing when he testified, and he didn’t.”

Benavides said Willis spent the year after graduating high school playing wide receiver at a junior college and was expected to play football for a university in Oklahoma the following autumn. “He was supposed to have a career, a family and great life, but none of that will happen now because of what the defendant did,” she said.

Benavides noted that Pradia was convicted of murder, on the day of the fourth anniversary of Willis’ graduation from high school. The defendant must serve at least half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.