Thirteen alleged killers await trial in Wharton County for crimes ranging from domestic disputes turned horribly violent to the slaying of an entire family.
The backlog is partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s year-long freeze on jury trials, but it may take years to get all the cases prosecuted.
One priority for 2022 is the Robert Satterfield case pending in the 329th District Court. The capital murder trial is tentatively set for May 2022.
Satterfield stands accused killing the Angleton family of Ray Shawn Hudson Sr., 28, Maya Victoria Rivera, 24, and their five-year-old son Ray Shawn Hudson Jr. whose partially burned bodies were found on June 16, 2018 in a field off Floyd Road outside of Burr, a small community in East Wharton County.
Authorities have released few facts of the case beyond saying they believe both the murders and the attempted cover up took place in Wharton County.
Satterfield faces three counts of murder, two counts of capital murder of multiple persons and one count of drug possession in a drug free zone. He sits in the Wharton County Jail currently, transferred there from his original Fort Bend County cell April 23, 2019, when he appeared in court to reject a life in prison plea offer.
Other murder cases pending in Wharton County are:
Deadly Driver – 54-year-old Raymond Charles Lights of Simonton faces up to life in prison, accused of causing the fatal crash April 1 which ended a police chase five miles west of East Bernard.
Fulshear police tried to stop Lights when a license plate reader in the community pinged on his 2003 Hyundai white four-door Sonata, notifying officers Lights had violated his parole in an aggravated robbery case.
That July 16, 1993 crime was putting a knife to a woman’s throat and taking her money. Lights received a 95-year prison sentence in Houston’s 178 District Court for the robbery on Jan. 13, 1994. It wasn’t his first violent offense, yet he made parole.
Lights likely knew that he was going back to prison if stopped. Instead he fled, prompting a high-speed chase which ended outside of East Bernard.
There Lights lost control of the Sonata on a dirt road, rolling and striking an embankment.
Lights was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Sugar Land. His girlfriend, 51-year-old passenger Julia Moreno of Gonzales, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Booked into the Wharton County Jail on April 26, Lights remains there as of press time on the murder charge and parole violation.
• Bullets & Smoke Murder – Shaquille Norvell Montgomery, 27, of 306 S. Colorado in Edna stands accused of killing 23-year-old Keshun Demetric Riggins of 201 Olive at Riggins’ home on Jan. 31, 2020 in what may have been a theft or robbery. One other person was seriously injured in the alleged attack.
The home became fully engulfed in flames moments after the shooting, burning down to just charred timbers and ash.
Montgomery has remained in county jail since his Feb. 5, 2020 arrest in lieu of $720,000 in bonds for capital murder, violation of parole, murder, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and arson.
• Social Media Exchange Killing – Drew Quinonez, 19; Dayton Quinonez, 18; both of El Campo; and Devin Garcia, 17 of 1406 Ave. I and 18-year-old Devin Lamont Lott of Wharton face a single count of murder each.
They stand accused of killing Wharton resident Shane Singleton, 21, who had come to El Campo in hopes of buying an item Feb. 23 after bartering the deal on social media.
Arriving at 704.5 Alvin, Singleton expected to meet a teen he knew. Instead, the arranged deal turned to a robbery and Singleton fought back before being fatally shot.
• Babysitter Slaying – 26-year-old Angel Nicole Castro of 703 Way in El Campo stands accused of killing a toddler she was providing child care for in January.
• Sister Slaying – 21-year-old Julio Sesar Paniagua of 417 Davis in Wharton stands accused of killing his 19-year-old sister, Stephanie Paniagua of the same address, shooting her to death June 7, 2020.
• Deadly Family Argument – El Campo man Aaron Thomas Martinez, 25, of 1100 Alice allegedly killed 40-year-old Adam Saenz of 1231 Alice during a disturbance in Saenz’ front yard April 27, 2020.
Saenz reportedly suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.
Arrested April 28, 2020, he posted a $50,000 bond and was released later that month, bonded out on a single count of murder.
• Baby killing – Elijah Alexander Hogston, 27, of 5554 Timber Creek Place in Houston allegedly killed his own child on May 19, 2019. Hogston was alone with his infant daughter Amara at a CR 103 home in Boling. His wife was at work when he claims the little girl began to spit up while he was feeding her and choked.
He was arrested 302 days later after extensive investigation ruled the child’s death was not an accident.
Arrested March 18, 2020, he posted a $300,000 bond and was released from custody pending trial on April 16, 2020.
• Trailer House Killing – Seventy-two-year-old Arturo Lara Tamez of El Campo faces the possibility of 99 years in prison in the Nov. 30, 2016 stabbing death of a local woman.
Tamez is believed to have killed Christal White Brown, 52, found in one of the trailers parked in the Quick N Easy lot behind Valero, 1415 E. Jackson, shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.
Brown knew Tamez, according to police. She was possibly a girlfriend or perhaps simply a friend.
• Green Shed Slaying – This case may never go to trial, but is still on the books. The alleged killer, Demond Blunston of El Campo, is already on Texas’ death row for the killing of two small children, one of which was his son, in a Laredo hotel room in 2012.
The case against Blunston actually starts here in El Campo, however, in a green shed on Dunlap street where a possible argument with the children’s mother, Brandy Cerny turned deadly on June 19, 2012.
Bluntson fled El Campo that day, but was found by Laredo police after he used one of Cerny’s credit cards to secure a hotel room in that city.
A standoff in that hotel turned deadly with Bluntson killing the two children and injuring a police officer before he could be taken into custody.
Bluntson was found guilty of two counts of capital murder in May 2016. The local case remains pending because of the cost to try a case against a man already condemned to die.
There’s no statute of limitation on murder, however, so it could be tried at some point in the future, should that be deemed necessary.