WHARTON — A discrepancy in Robert Allen Satterfield’s testimony stood out as soon as Texas Ranger David Chauvin began his third full day of testimony in the capital murder trial.
By the time Chauvin stepped out of the witness box at 4:35 p.m. Wednesday, the Ranger had spent 4 1/2 days testifying.
Also, Chauvin agreed with lead defense attorney Brian Lacour that two of the three murder victims might be alive today had the landowner warned them or called law enforcement when he learned someone had already been killed on his property.
The eight-man, seven-woman jury — including alternates — began listening to the second week of testimony Tuesday, following Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
During the holiday weekend, Chauvin went back to listen to audio recordings of conversations between himself and Satterfield, 41, who is being tried on a capital murder charge for killing Ray Shawn “Baby Ray” Hudson Jr. of Angleton on June 10, 2018. The boy would have turned 5 the next day. Also killed were his father, Ray Shawn Hudson Sr., 28; and his mother, Maya Victoria Rivera, 24.
Wharton County Assistant District Attorney Lance Long asked Chauvin to explain what he had discovered.
In previous comments, the defendant said Ray Shawn Sr. pulled a knife on him before being shot. But in listening to recordings last weekend, Satterfield told Chauvin that he first pulled the gun, then Hudson pulled a knife and started backing up toward the burn pit on Henry Floyd’s land near Burr in Wharton County.
Satterfield said he shot Hudson three times while trying to get information out of him about several men who were harassing him on Facebook, calling him a snitch, a dog, boxing him in on the road and other things that made him worry, possibly about his own safety.
Hudson was backing up when he shot him in the torso, then shot him a second time in the torso, and “while he was rolling on the ground,” shot him in the back of the head, killing him, Satterfield said. He dragged Hudson’s body into the pit, put trash on top of him, applied lighter fluid and set him on fire, Satterfield said during one of several conversations with Chauvin.
In that recording, Satterfield never said he shot Hudson in self-defense, Long pointed out.
Right before lunch Tuesday, the prosecution passed Chauvin to the defense team for cross-examination.
Many of the questions had already been asked before during Chauvin’s long stint in the witness box, but new bits of information were often revealed. For one, Chauvin said the magazine of the 9mm semi-automatic handgun was never found in the location Satterfield said he tossed it along Highway 90. The Ranger testified last week and again Tuesday that DPS divers were not able to find the gun in the Brazos River.
However, Chauvin testified the knife used to cut up the trunk liner of Maya’s car was found buried in sand along a river.
Henry Floyd, on whose land the Angleton family were allegedly shot, killed, burned and covered up by Satterfield with the aid of a backhoe belonging to Floyd, had come home from church that Sunday. Floyd’s interview by Wharton County Sheriff’s investigators lasted from 10:56 p.m. June 15 until after 1:15 a.m. June 16. This was after Chauvin had already talked to him at his home starting at 9:10 p.m.
Floyd was not Mirandized because he was considered a witness, not a suspect. As such, he was interviewed, not interrogated, according to testimony.
Floyd went to the fire pit where Satterfield was burning trash and saw the body of Ray Shawn Sr., the property owner said.
Chauvin asked him in the interview if the boy and his mother were still alive at that time, and Floyd said they were and he’d seen them in Maya Rivera’s car. In fact, Floyd said, they had left his property and drove down CR 115, but she came back and parked down by the house of Floyd’s late brother, Elliott, which is where she and her son died.
Lacour asked Chauvin a series of questions concerning Maya and Baby Ray, and Henry Floyd’s failure to possibly save them.
Lacour: “When Floyd said he saw Ray Shawn’s body in the pit, Maya was still alive, right?”
Lacour: “He could have saved her life, right?”
Lacour: “Henry Floyd could have saved Ray Shawn Hudson Jr. too, is that right?”
Lacour: “He could have told her to leave, or he could have called law enforcement and saved her life, correct?”
Chauvin: “Yes sir.”
The prosecution did not object to the line of questioning.
It was also revealed that after he saw Ray Shawn’s body in the pit, Floyd went home and went to bed, though Floyd said he didn’t sleep.
Floyd said during the interview that when he talked to Satterfield after seeing the body in the pit he saw the outline of the pistol in the defendant’s pants pocket. He said Satterfield had bought it a couple of months earlier from someone for $600.
Asked why he hadn’t reported the killing, Floyd said, “I didn’t want the same thing to happen to my family.” And he said Satterfield, the father of Floyd’s 2-year-old grandson, asked him not to say anything.
Chauvin said he couldn’t believe how well Floyd, during the interview, appeared to be handling what he had seen. Chauvin expressed frustration with Floyd and confusion over his changing story, or withholding information. Chauvin and Ranger James Wilkins didn’t feel Floyd was telling them everything he knew, Chauvin testified.
Floyd eventually told investigators he told his son, Ryan Floyd, the evening of June 10 about the dead man in the burn pit.
Chauvin asked how Ryan reacted. Floyd said his son threw his arms in the air and said, “See what you brought to this house?”
During the video-recorded interview at the sheriff’s office, Wilkins started applying pressure.
“We need the truth, right now! A lot of what you’re saying doesn’t make sense!” Wilkins said at 11:50 p.m.
Wilkins asked Floyd how his story would match that of his son, to which he said, “100 percent.”
Floyd told Rangers he saw the bodies of Maya and Baby Ray about 8 a.m. Monday. Satterfield previously told Rangers the bodies burned during the night, which could have been Sunday night or before sunrise Monday.
Wilkins asked what he did after seeing the mother and child’s bodies.
“I got in my truck and went back to the house,” he said.
“What did you do after that?” Wilkins asked. Floyd said he did nothing, that he didn’t want to get involved.
“It seems to me you just went about your day. You’ve seen three dead people and you just went about your day?” Wilkins said.
“I should have gone back to the house and called the sheriff,” Floyd said.
“I know what you should have done,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins continued to express concern Floyd didn’t seem bothered about the deaths and showed no emotion about what had happened on his property.
Rangers suggested Floyd might have been trying to protect his son, Ryan.
“I ain’t protecting nobody,” he said.
Satterfield had already told Rangers he acted alone in the deaths.
Questions were then asked about Floyd’s backhoe that was used to both cover up the bodies and later to dig up the burned remains. Floyd is a grave digger, and that is what he uses the backhoe for, testimony showed.
Chauvin said as far as he knew, no DNA testing was done on the backhoe to try to link Satterfield to it.
The Ranger admitted that because Floyd was 77, he had not been firm with him when interviewing him. But he testified he was aggravated, so while interviewing him June 18, “I threw some stuff out there,” but he stayed with his story.