Poker Game Murder on Christmas Day Sees Sore Loser Get Life in Prison

Posted on: March 2, 2022, 05:24h. 

Last updated on: March 2, 2022, 09:52h.

An Aurora, Colo. man who shot and killed a family friend over a Christmas Day poker game has been sentenced to life in prison without 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 convicted by an Arapahoe County jury of first-degree murder in relation to the death of his friend, Aarion Derritt, in the early hours of Christmas Day, 2019.

 The two men had been playing poker and dice with several others in the basement of an Aurora property after family and friends had gathered for a holiday celebration, according to prosecutors.

Davis-Barnes lost between $600 and $700 to Derritt during the session. Derritt offered to give some of the money he had won back to Davis-Barnes. But the latter was “dissatisfied with Mr. Derritt’s generosity,” according to Senior Deputy District Attorney 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 from the property in a grey BMW, prosecutors said.

Police were called to the property at around 2 am, 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,” Brown said.

He added that Davis-Barnes had eliminated any possibility of Derritt surviving and had spent the remainder 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 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.”

The suspect was apprehended on the evening of December 31. On February 18, he was convicted of aggravated robbery, felony menacing, 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 instigate a confrontation or incite any violence,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jason Siers said in a statement. “He was playing a game, and he ended up shot dead when he should have been able to go home and celebrate Christmas.”