After a day of testimony, a Harris County jury sentenced Kendrick Akins on Wednesday to life in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Thursday. The jury also found that he was a true habitual offender because of earlier violent crimes.
Akins, 42, was convicted of murder on Oct. 21, and when the verdict was read, the defendant passed out and had a seizure in the courtroom. The judge then postponed the punishment phase until this week.
“This man was an abuser with a string of domestic violence crimes that continued to escalate until he killed a woman,” Ogg said. “Unfortunately, Dominic Jefferson lost her life because he lost his temper.”
According to prosecutors, Akins and 33-year-old Jefferson got into an argument at their apartment in the 5500 block of Holly View Drive in northwest Houston on Jan. 4, 2020. Akins had proposed over the New Year’s Day holiday.
Three days later, they got into an argument about a message he had received on social media, and she called the engagement off. When she and a female friend tried to leave to pick up the friend’s boyfriend, Jefferson’s car would not start.
Akins started looking under the hood and trying to fix the car when Jefferson shouted at him to leave the car and her alone. They continued to argue, and then Akins pulled a gun out of his pocket and shot Jefferson in the chest from a few feet away, prosecutors said.
A witness heard the shot and came running to help, and Akins shot at the man. He then took his fiancée’s cellphone and fled.
Akins had previously been convicted of several offenses including an aggravated assault against a woman in 2008 and in 2015 of felon in possession of a weapon and possession of methamphetamine. He went to prison for that case and was on parole when he committed the murder.
Jurors also heard that Akins told people he put a loaded shotgun to a woman’s head as she slept and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not go off.
“I hope that the family feels justice was done because Dominic Jefferson was a daughter, sister and mother as well as a cousin and friend,” said Assistant District Attorney Anthony Osso, who prosecuted the case. “We were able to establish a trail of violent crimes going back almost 20 years in which Kendrick Akins was violent and abusive toward women, and we want to thank the jury for putting an end to that.”