HOUSTON (KIAH) — A man was sentenced to 45 years in prison this week after pleading guilty to murder for robbing and shooting a man in Alief in 2018, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.
Elie Ngouelet, 23, of Houston, agreed to plead guilty to murder after a jury was selected in his capital murder trial for the slaying of Ramon Esquivel. If convicted, Ngouelet would have been sentenced automatically to life in prison without parole. Because he pleaded guilty to murder, he must serve at least half his 45-year sentence before he is eligible for parole, and he cannot appeal the conviction or sentence.
“The victim in this case was totally innocent of any wrongdoing; in fact, he was waiting for a ride to work when he was gunned down in a senseless robbery,” Ogg said. “The hardworking residents of Harris County should not be afraid that they could lose their life to gun violence while standing in front of their own homes.”
Ngouelet approached 56-year-old Esquivel outside an apartment complex in the 8400 block of South Course Drive in the Alief area about 5 a.m. on April 3, 2018. Prosecutors said that Ngouelet brandished a gun while attempting to rob Esquivel and, after a brief skirmish, Ngouelet shot Esquivel three times.
Esquivel’s adult son heard the shots and came out of the family’s apartment to check on his father. He saw Ngouelet going through Esquivel’s pockets, prosecutors said.
Ngouelet ran to a friend’s home, where he cut and dyed his hair, prosecutors said. He turned himself in to Houston police days later and admitted to the robbery and shooting.
Assistant District Attorney Phillip White, who prosecuted the case with ADA David Brucker, said the victim was a family man known to work long hours.
“This was a hardworking guy who got up early to go to his job in construction and was standing right in front of his own apartment, and he ended up getting robbed and shot three times,” White said. “Not only did Ngouelet shoot the man, but he tackled him to the ground and went through his pockets while he was dying. It’s just a horrific case.”