May 11, 2022

Sore loser sentenced to life in prison for Christmas Day poker game murder

Posted on: March 2, 2022, 05:24h.

Last update: March 2, 2022, 9:52 a.m.

An Aurora, Colorado man who fatally shot a family friend during a poker game on Christmas Day has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Curtis Davis Barnes
Curtis Davis-Barnes, above, lost between $600 and $700 to the victim before shooting him in the head and chest (Image: Arapaho County Sheriff’s Office)

Earlier this month, Curtis Davis-Barnes, 38, was found guilty by an Arapahoe County jury of first-degree murder in connection with the death of his friend, Aarion Derritt, in the early hours of the day of Christmas 2019.

The pair were playing poker and dice with several others in the basement of an Aurora property after family and friends gathered for a party, prosecutors say.

Davis-Barnes lost between $600 and $700 to Derritt during the session. Derritt offered to return some of the money he earned to Davis-Barnes. But the latter was “dissatisfied with the generosity of Mr. Derritt”, according to Deputy Senior Prosecutor Casey Brown.

Shot and Robbed

Instead, Davis-Barnes disappeared upstairs, returning moments later with a handgun. He shot Derritt in the head and chest, took cash from his pockets and fled the property in a gray BMW, prosecutors said.

Police were called to the property around 2 a.m., where they found Derritt dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

Mr. Derritt was the life of the party, and his family was crushed by the unexpected loss of their beloved son, brother and father,” said Brown.

He added that Davis-Barnes eliminated any possibility of Derritt’s survival and spent the rest of Derritt’s money hiding from the police.

‘Hard to believe’

“It’s hard to believe that a friendly holiday gathering would end in murder, but that’s exactly what happened here,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “This defendant was upset to lose a match so he calmly retrieved a gun and shot the victim. I’m glad we were able to get justice for the victim’s family, although nothing will bring Mr Derritt back.

The suspect was apprehended on the evening of December 31. On February 18, he was convicted of aggravated robbery, felony threatening and criminal possession of identification documents in addition to murder.

“By all accounts, Mr. Derritt did nothing to provoke the defendant. He did nothing to provoke a confrontation or incite violence,” Assistant District Attorney Jason Siers said in a statement. “He was playing a game and he ended up being shot when he should have been able to go home and celebrate Christmas.”