Wharton County District Attorney Dawn Allison and her team prepare for continuous trials of capital murder cases in the upcoming years for the 329th District Court — three are cases involving the death of children.
One high profile case that has made national headlines is the case concerning Robert Allen Satterfield, 39.
Satterfield was indicted on capital murder charges relating to the summer of 2018 slaying of an Angleton family — Ray Shawn Hudson Sr., 28, Maya Victoria Rivera, 24, and their five-year-old son Ray Shawn Hudson Jr.
Their burned bodies were found near Burr.
A life plea deal was rejected by Satterfield and counsel in 2019, and the district attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty.
A motion to suppress was held in the 329th District Court on July 6, where presiding Judge Randy Clapp ruled in the prosecution’s favor. The decision will allow the prosecution’s gathered evidence to be presented during trial.
Happy with the findings concerning the suppression motion, Allison told The County Gin, “I can’t say enough how appreciative I am of our rangers and attorney general’s office.”
She continued, “We don’t have a body in that case, and we don’t have a weapon. So, it’s a difficult case. If the judge was to suppress a lot of the evidence we do have, we would have had a difficult time making that case.
“Fortunately, all the law enforcement involved in this case did their job and the judge agreed.”
Satterfield is being held in the Fort Bend County Jail in lieu of $3 million in bonds as he awaits his trial date, set for January 21, 2022.
“We will be ready the first of the year to try this case,” Allison said.
Elijah Alexander Hogston, now 27, faces life in prison or possibly the death penalty if convicted in the capital murder case of his infant daughter Amara.
Investigators took nearly one year to gather evidence in order to arrest Hogston.
Allegedly, Hogston was alone with his daughter at a CR 103 home in Boling on May 19, 2019. His wife was at work when he claims the little girl began to spit up while he was feeding her.
Hogston was a Fort Bend County EMT at the time, but claimed to be unable to help the child.
An ambulance was called and worked to stabilize the little girl, who was later transported by a Life Flight helicopter which took the child to Memorial Hermann’s children’s hospital.
Investigators were contacted by a social worker and nurse at the hospital saying the three-month-old girl in their care was the victim of a crime.
Amara was taken off life support the following day and succumbed to her injuries.
Hogston was arrested on March 18, 2020 and formally indicted by a grand jury on July 7, 2020 on single count of Capital Murder of a Person Under 10 Years of Age.
The indictment stated Hogston “did then and there intentionally and knowingly cause the death of an individual, namely A.H., an individual younger than ten years of age by: 1. Striking A.H. in the head with an unknown object; and/or 2. striking the head of A.H. against an unknown object; and/or 3. Shaking A.H. with his hands; and/or; 4. Causing the death of A.H. by an unknown manner and means.”
Hogston was released on a $500,000 bond, however, through changes with his defense counsel and newly acquired charges, he remains in the custody of the Wharton County Jail.
He is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of abandon endanger of a child criminal negligence.
The four count indictment handed down on July 6, 2021 states he “intentionally and knowingly threatened Amanda Hogston with eminent bodily injury by pointing a handgun at her, and did then and there use or exhibit a deadly weapon, to-wit: a handgun, during the commission of said assault.”
He also allegedly attempted to stab the named victim with a screw driver.
Each of these alleged assaults took place in the presence of a child younger than 15 years of age, which warrants the two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of abandon endanger of a child criminal negligence stated in the indictment.
No trial date has been set, however, Allison said cases involving inmates will take priority over cases where the named has posted bail.
“Generally speaking, anyone who is awaiting trial and remains in custody, normally receives a sooner trail than an accused individual that is bonded out,” she said.
The Wharton County Grand Jury handed down a single count indictment for capital murder against Angel Nicole Castro, 26, of El Campo during deliberations on April 6, 2021.
As reported by The Gin, Castro was charged in the death of 19-month-old Roselynn Coates who was in her care.
The toddler died on January 19, 2021.
The indictment states that Castro, also known by Angel Saldana, “did then and there intentionally cause the death of an individual, namely, R.C. and individual younger than 10 years of age, by infliction trauma to the abdomen.”
Castro has no previous criminal history and is bonded out on a set $500,000 bond.
These listed capital murder cases are only three out of ten currently pending trial within Wharton County.
Allison stated that their office has been quite busy preparing these cases for trial, and added the court delays due to the COVID pandemic don’t help the office’s work load.
“It was announced that it would be a minimum of three years before the criminal justice system in Texas would be caught up,” Allison said. “I’m very concerned. Other counties have already shut their courts back down due to COVID.”
If the 329th District Court remains open, Satterfield will be the first of these capital murder cases listed to go to trail.