Houston police release mugshot of suspect wanted in 66-year-old homeless man's murder

KTRK logo
Friday, June 9, 2023
Mugshot released of suspect wanted in killing homeless man in downtown
The beating was caught on surveillance video from a music hall nearby, and according to court records, the suspect is seen near the body with a large pole or pipe.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police released a mugshot of the suspect wanted in the murder of a homeless man earlier this month in downtown Houston.

Richard Denton Needham, 39, has been charged with murder but is not yet in custody, so police have released a May 2023 photo in hopes that someone would find him.

Needham is accused of beating a man to death on June 3 and leaving him behind on a sidewalk in the 400 block of Franklin near Bagby Street. Investigators believe the victim was homeless, a population advocates say is more vulnerable to violent crime.

The medical examiner's office has not determined the 66-year-old victim's identity. The man's cause of death was ruled as blunt force trauma to the head.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Police investigating after homeless man found possibly beaten to death in downtown Houston

The beating was caught on surveillance video from 713 Music Hall, court documents say. A man, later identified as Needham, is allegedly seen on the video walking away after beating the victim and later returning near the body.

Records say that in one of the videos, Needham is seen "holding a large pipe or pole in his left hand... the object extends past his leg."

According to ABC13's Neighborhood Safety Tracker, homicides are up near the downtown Theater District. The four-year annual average from 2019 to 2023 is three. In the past 12 months, the area saw eight homicides.

SEE RELATED STORY: Advocates shed light on safety risk to people experiencing homelessness after man beaten to death

If you have any information about the homicide, authorities urge you to contact HPD's Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), submitting an online tip, or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app.

SEE ALSO: 'It's not fair': Group feeding the homeless outside Houston Public Library hit with 29 citations