By CBS13 Staff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A driver who intentionally ran over homeless man George Kouklis in downtown Sacramento has been convicted of first-degree murder, prosecutors announced Friday.

Deante Whitaker was also found guilty of the use of a deadly weapon. He is set to be sentenced on August 5 and faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life behind bars, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said.

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Deante Whitaker’s booking photo

On August 24, 2019, Whitaker was driving on N. 16th Street near Capitol Casino when Kouklis walked in front of his car. Prosecutors said Whitaker stopped and yelled at Kouklis before driving away and circling the block.

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Whitaker returned moments later and spotted Kouklis standing at the same intersection, prosecutors said. He drove directly into Kouklis, launching him across multiple lanes of traffic.

Kouklis, 60, suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead the next day at the hospital.

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Whitaker was arrested more than a week later after he called to report that his license plates had been stolen.