Fort Worth

Killer of Arlington Martin football player gets 30 years

Carl Wilson, 18, was fatally shot in January 2015. Devin Holland pleaded guilty Friday and received a 30-year sentence.
Carl Wilson, 18, was fatally shot in January 2015. Devin Holland pleaded guilty Friday and received a 30-year sentence.

A 21-year-old gang member was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison in the fatal shooting of an Arlington Martin football player last year.

Devin Holland, 21, pleaded guilty to one charge of engaging in organized crime/murder and two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

He received five-year sentences for each assault charge. Those will be served concurrently with the 30-year murder sentence.

Holland shot Carl Wilson, 18, on Jan. 12, 2015, as Wilson was about to fight one of Holland’s fellow gang members, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

When Wilson, a single father and a senior at Martin, fell to the ground, Holland stood over him and shot him at least two more times, the affidavit states.

Prosecutor Tiffany Burks said she was “very pleased” with the length of Holland’s sentence.

He agreed to the plea bargain last week.

Prosecutors pinned the shooting on Holland based largely on testimony from witnesses and “the fact that we could prove that the information that the defendant gave us was not true,” Burks said.

At one point, Holland denied being at the scene of the shooting. But investigators obtained Holland’s cellphone and were able to use cell towers to trace the phone’s movement to show that Holland was near the scene of the fatal shooting at a carwash at 6300 Treepoint Drive, near the Arlington-Kennedale border.

Earlier in the day, Wilson and a gang member who was also a Martin student, had an altercation in the school cafeteria, according to the affidavit. The two were supposed to fight at the carwash.

Wilson and a friend showed up, as did the unidentified gang member and other members of the Trill Fam gang. Holland stepped through the crowd and shot Wilson, according to the affidavit.

Holland was indicted in April. Burks said she offered a plea bargain early in the case’s proceedings.

“It was gang-involved, and it is not uncommon in these cases where you have witnesses who don’t want to come forward,” Burks said. “You have witnesses who change their stories, because they’re concerned about being a snitch. While it’s something we can work with, it can sometimes be a detriment.”

Burks also pointed to the number of witnesses involved. Kennedale investigators estimated about 15 to 20 people watched Wilson get gunned down.

“That can leave room for confusion during the course of the trial,” Burks said. “When you have several people on scene that are witnesses, not everybody sees the same thing the same way. As a result, you might have some inconsistencies between what people saw and what happened.”

On the one year anniversary of his murder, friends, teachers and coaches remember Carl Wilson, the Arlington Martin student and football player who touched so many. (video by Jared L. Christopher)

A few days after the fatal shooting, Holland told a witness that he had killed Wilson because he was “beefin’ with their gang,” according to the affidavit.

Witnesses later told detectives that after the shooting, a red Ford F-150 left the scene, and police learned that Holland was in that truck. Other witnesses later identified Holland as the shooter.

Staff writer Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report, which includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.