Waco, Tx (FOX 44) – A man accused of using a dating app to connect with a man, then killing him, has entered a guilty plea to a murder charge.
Damarion T. Degrate has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. He was charged with the August 17, 2020 shooting death of Jonathan Deshawn Breeding, who was killed near the area of N. 34th Street and Brooke Circle.
There were three shootings that night. Waco Police said during the investigation of all three shootings, detectives learned they had at least one thing in common – all three victims were contacted through the dating app Grindr.
Police said it was through Grindr that Degrate communicated with the victims and made plans to meet up with them. When he was charged with Breeding’s death, Degrate was previously arrested for one of the shootings and had bonded out. He was not connected as a suspect with the fatal shooting until later, after which Waco Police got a new warrant on the murder charge. Degrate had actually been indicted on a capital murder charge, but was allowed to plea to the lesser offense.
During the same Tuesday court appearance, Degrate entered a plea to a separate charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and was assessed 20 years on that charge.
Degrate had remained in the McLennan County Jail over 1,000 days at the time of his plea and sentencing.
McLennan County District Attorney Josh Tetens issued the following statement following the plea and sentencing:
Today another young murderer was sent to prison for more years than he’s been alive, and although we can never make his victims whole again, we hope they were afforded some closure today. We must continue to be vigilant as a community to address juvenile violence, but at the same time our office will continue to seek harsh sentences for those who harm others, despite their age.
Prosecutor Will Hix offered these thoughts:
“The tragic consequences of this defendant’s choices were on display in the 19th District Court this morning, The loss felt by the family of Mr. Breeding, and the pain that continues to be felt by Mr. Backer was clear. We are grateful that this chapter was closed without the need for a trial that would have led to additional trauma for everyone involved, and that the defendant was willing to accept responsibility for his decisions.”