September 28, 2021 22:43

Waco man charged in Houston football player murder

A Waco man has been charged with capital murder in the Nov. 4 slaying of former University of Houston football player Ka’Darian Smith, Houston police said Monday.

Devion Michael Hurtado, 23, was arrested during a Nov. 20 traffic stop in Waco on an outstanding felony warrant out of McLennan County. He was charged in Smith’s death five days later.

Hurtado was one of four men captured on surveillance video at Smith’s Midtown high-rise apartment at 2850 Fannin St., authorities said. The other men have been identified by police, but no other charges have been filed.

Smith played for the Cougars from 2016 to 2019. A graduate of Spring High School, Smith was part of the Cougars’ H-Town Takeover recruiting class of 2016.

Smith, 22, called two friends in the early-morning hours of Nov. 4 to say he had been shot in his apartment. The friends went to his aid and called an ambulance, which transported him to a hospital before police arrived.

Smith’s family later told police that several Rolex watches and a diamond bracelet were missing from his apartment. Detectives also learned that Smith sold marijuana, according to court records. The Houston Police Department’s Crime Scene Unit collected 11 pounds of marijuana from the apartment after the shooting, court records say.

Hurtado’s arrest affidavit provides the following account:

Investigators spoke to two of the other three men seen on the surveillance video. One man, who goes by the street name “Tunchie,” agreed to an interview at Houston police headquarters.

The man told police that he and a friend known as “Lil’ Twerk” were at his aunt’s house in southeast Houston the night of the murder.

They wanted to buy a half-ounce of marijuana. Lil’ Twerk suggested that his cousin and his cousin’s friend were in town and could help them find a good deal.

Devion Hurtado, 23. (Photo: Houston Police Department)

Court records identified the cousin by the street name “Tae Tae” and the cousin’s friend as Hurtado. When the pair arrived at the home, Lil’ Twerk provided about $600 for marijuana, court records allege. Hurtado then drove all four of the men to Smith’s apartment in his Jeep, police said.

During the drive, the group perused photos of marijuana that Smith had posted to social media. When they arrived, Hurtado left them in the car to pick up the marijuana but didn’t return for up to 15 minutes.

The three other men became worried and went inside to find him. Two gunshots rang out after they stepped off the elevator to the 12th floor, and they all fled and split up, records say.

After Houston police released apartment surveillance footage to media outlets in Houston and Waco, multiple tips helped investigators track down Hurtado, police said.

A Waco police officer identified the man and said he was “known for robbing people” in the Central Texas city, records say. Another tip also tied him to the Jeep that he drove to the crime scene, police said.


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