Nicolas Porter, 21, of Tomball, was sentenced by the court to life in prison Friday morning for the April 10, 2017 murder of Ernest Treviño. Judge Reva Towslee Corbett presided over the trial in the District Court. District Attorney Julie Renken and Assistant District Attorney Derek Estep represented the State at trial, and Paul LaValle, of Houston, represented the Defendant.
Porter pled guilty to Murder on September 28, 2017. He requested a presentence investigation be conducted and presented along with witness testimony at a hearing before the Court. Murder is a first degree felony punishable by 5-99 years, or life, in prison. Porter was indicted on June 27, 2017.
The case was investigated in Washington County by the Sheriff’s Office, and the Texas Rangers assisted with the investigation. Witnesses immediately identified Porter as a suspect. Porter confessed to the murder to the Texas Rangers after being located at his mother’s home. A search of that home produced extensive drug paraphernalia, marijuana, THC “wax”, prescription medications, stolen electronics, $50,000 cash in a safe, and 4 firearms, including the pistol used to murder Treviño.
Over twenty people testified during the two-day hearing. The evidence also showed that Treviño had recently gotten back involved in marijuana to try and offset the costs of being a single father. Porter was Treviño’s supplier of marijuana, and at the time of the murder, Treviño owed Porter approximately $2,000. Porter drove from Tomball to Treviño’s home to collect the debt, and shot Treviño in front of his children just inside the front door of the home. Deputy Chandler, the first officer to respond, explained how she made someone take the kids out of the house so they wouldn’t be standing over her while she performed CPR.
Friends and family of the victim described him as someone who had overcome a criminal past to become an involved father and valued employee. Numerous witness testified that Treviño was “the best father in the world,” “his kids meant the world to him,” and “his kids were his passion.” Treviño’s boss described a plan whereby he would sell his company to Treviño and retire in short order having trained Treviño from the beginning.
Porter’s family and girlfriend, Alexandra Pearce, also testified. Pearce described him as “chill and laid back,” and a “peaceful person,” and that she hoped he would get probation. Porter’s sisters both described him as the “man of the house” after their father left. Porter moved to Burton with his grandparents for a period of time to start high school, and both grandparents testified about the support he had been given while he lived with them and requested the Court have mercy on Porter.
Porter testified at the hearing, and described the debt owed by Treviño but that the murder had “nothing to do with money.” Porter begged the Court to not sentence him to life in prison because he went to Treviño’s house “with good intentions,” and “was in fear for his life.” However, Porter conceded that Treviño was unarmed when he was shot. He testified that he sold marijuana on credit to numerous other people, and that he also sold Xanax. Based on his testimony, Porter was selling up to $10,000 of hydroponic marijuana per week.
At the hearing Julie Renken described the murder as “a senseless act of violence and greed” and highlighted the $2,000 debt owed and the $50,000 cash located in Porter’s mother’s home where he lived. She also contrasted Treviño and Porter pointing to Treviño’s professional ambition with Porter’s unemployment, and pictures of Treviño and his children with pictures of Porter with his nephew and a bag of marijuana. She referred back to Treviño’s children who were present when Treviño was murdered, and ultimately, Renken asked the Court for a life sentence.
After the sentence was announced and the courtroom cleared, Renken commented, “A life sentence doesn’t bring back a father, son, brother, or friend, but we hope it helps bring some closure to Ernest Treviño’s family.” “Once again,” she spoke further, “in our county we have a homicide directly related to drugs. We take a strong stand against drug dealers precisely because of collateral consequences like this.” Story from the Washington County District Attorney's Office.