Man sentenced to prison for shooting friend after losing game in Aurora

Posted at 3:08 PM, Feb 24, 2022

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — A man who fatally shot a family friend on Christmas Day 2019 in Aurora after losing money to him in a game was sentenced to life in prison.

Curtis Davis-Barnes, 38, was sentenced to life without parole in the shooting and killing of his family friend, Aarion Earle Derritt, 39, on Dec. 25, 2019.

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Aarion Derritt

At 2 a.m. that morning, Aurora police were called to a home along the 17000 block of E. Kansas Place on a report that a man had been shot, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office. Officers found Derritt in the basement with one gunshot to his head and several to his torso, according to the district attorney's office.

After talking with witnesses, police learned that family and friends had gathered at the home for a Christmas party, and several of them went into the basement to play poker and dice. As the night went on, Davis-Barnes lost between $600 and $700 to Derritt.

Davis-Barnes became angry and went upstairs to get a handgun. When he returned to the basement, he shot Derritt in the head and chest, took cash from his pockets, and left the home, according to the district attorney's office.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Casey Brown said Derritt tried to give some of the money back to Davis-Barnes, but he was "dissatisfied with Mr. Derritt’s generosity."

Police announced he was arrested on Dec. 31, 2019.

“Mr. Derritt was the life of the party, and his family was crushed by the unexpected loss of their beloved son, brother, and father,” Brown said. "The defendant eliminated any possibility of Mr. Derritt surviving, and he spent the remainder of Mr. Derritt’s money hiding from police.”

On Feb. 18, a jury in Arapahoe County found Davis-Barnes guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, felony menacing, and criminal possession of identification documents.

Arapahoe District Court Judge Darren Vahle then sentenced Davis-Barnes to life without parole in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

“It’s hard to believe that a friendly holiday gathering would end in murder, but that it is exactly what happened here,” said District Attorney John Kellner. “This defendant was unhappy that he was losing a game, so he calmly retrieved a firearm and shot the victim to death. I am glad we were able to obtain justice for the family of the victim, although nothing will bring back Mr. Derritt.”