Distinctive hats led investigators to suspect in Denny’s killing

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by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

kvue.com

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM

HOUSTON -- We’re learning more details as to how investigators tracked down the four men accused in a fatal shooting at Denny's restaurant in Houston.

Leroy Houston, the third suspect taken into custody, saw a judge in probable cause court early Thursday morning.

Houston, like the three other suspects, is charged with capital murder for his alleged role in the Aug. 26 holdup turned fatal shooting.

In court, prosecutors said an informant led them to their first three suspects, and when they searched their homes, they found something that belonged to Leroy Houston’s stepfather.

“As I understand it, several hats were found that were distinctive, that were involved in the robbery that we’ve seen on the video tape of several hijackers,” said prosecutors. “The hats were later identified as belonging to the stepfather of this defendant. This defendant was placed in a lineup and was identified by the witness, who stated he was the one wearing a fedora hat. The stepfather stated the hats were missing from his collection of hats.”

Houston didn’t speak in probable cause court early Thursday, but he might during a second hearing scheduled for later in the day.

On Wednesday, the last suspect in the case, Kenya Jackson, turned himself in.

Investigators with the Houston Police Department said three of the men, wearing bandanas and masks, fired shots when they entered the Denny’s in the 7300 block of Washington Avenue. They ordered everyone to the floor and started robbing the customers. Before fleeing the scene, they shot 64-year-old Robert Placette, who was trying to shield some children. The Katy man later died at the hospital. A worker was also wounded but survived.

The three men then ran to a getaway van where the fourth suspect was waiting and sped away, police said.

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