Houston/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 19, 2024
Houston Horror: Man Gets 60-Year Sentence for Murdering Friend, Abandoning Toddler to Die in Sweltering SUVSource: Houston Police Department

A Houston man who shot his longtime friend and left his friend's toddler to die in a hot SUV has been sentenced to 60 years behind bars, local authorities said. Bolanle Olayinka Fadairo, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder just as his trial was set to start, copping a plea that put an end to a heartbreaking case that shook the community.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Fadairo was convicted in the killing of 38-year-old Michael Essien, who had been trying to get him back on his feet by giving him odd jobs, and whose generosity extended to letting Fadairo use his home address for mail. In an altercation over money on September 20, 2022, Fadairo shot Essien dead outside Supermercados Teloloapan — a moment caught on surveillance footage.

Unbeknownst to many at the time of the shooting, Essien's 2-year-old son Micah was in the back seat of the stolen SUV. It was only upon a frantic call from Essien's wife to the police later that a search began for the missing child. The abandoned vehicle was found on a street less than two miles from the crime scene, with the lifeless body of the toddler inside, as reported by KHOU.

"The family in this case lost a loving father and a little boy who was the most innocent, of victims," Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement that resonated with a community grappling with the dual losses. "We were ready to go to trial to seek justice and hold this killer accountable, and now he will be behind bars for decades and hopefully the rest of his life." Fadairo's intersection with the law ended in him being ineligible for parole until he serves at least 30 years of his sentence, and without the option to appeal his conviction or the sentence.

The tragedy underscores devastating stories of betrayal, where trust offered was repaid with unspeakable violence. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Condon conveyed the bleakness of the resolution, "This is a terrible tragedy, and the plea agreement is not going to bring back Mike and Micah, but hopefully the family can find some peace because it is the end of the legal battle," Condon told KHOU. Amid the sorrow, the plea agreement at least spared a family the prolonged agony of a trial, providing a closure on legal proceedings that cannot undo the heartbreak of their loss.