WHARTON — Accused killer Robert Allen Satterfield, a day after taking over his own defense, called five witnesses to the stand Tuesday morning and two after lunch, then told the court at 1:20 p.m. he rested his case.
The prosecution rested as well, ending 16 days of testimony in the capital murder trial State of Texas vs. Robert Allen Satterfield.
When the jury of eight men and seven women, including alternates, returns this morning, 329th District Judge Randy Clapp will read them a charge and both the prosecution and the defense will give closing arguments. The jury — minus the alternates — will then return to the jury room to begin deliberating the defendant’s guilt or innocence.
Satterfield, accused of killing Ray Shawn “Baby Ray” Hudson Jr., 4, of Angleton on June 10, 2018, is on trial for capital murder. If convicted, Satterfield could be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole or receive the death penalty.
He has also been charged, but is not currently being tried, for the murder of Baby Ray’s parents, Ray Shawn Hudson Sr., 28, and Maya Victoria Rivera, 24. The bodies of all three Angleton family members were discovered in a burn pit in East Wharton County near Burr six days after the family disappeared June 10, 2018.
Satterfield, having dismissed his defense team the day before, sat alone at the defense table Tuesday morning in the Wharton County Courthouse district courtroom. Access to the first three benches behind the defense table were chained off, putting the nearest courtroom visitor some 20 feet behind him.
Sheriff’s deputies, assigned to courtroom security and keeping an eye on Satterfield, normally stay near the back of the courtroom. On Tuesday, a couple positioned themselves closer to the defendant, and Sheriff Shannon Srubar sat next to District Clerk Kendra Charbula or stood beside the witness box when Satterfield asked to approach witnesses to show them pictures. Charbula is positioned next to the judge.
When Satterfield had a defense team there were three trial attorneys seated at the table with him, and they had a mostly non-lawyer support team of anywhere from four to seven sitting behind them in the first two rows behind the defense table.
Before Tuesday’s proceedings began, Wharton County District Attorney Dawn Allison informed the judge she provided Satterfield with law manuals and Texas Ranger David Chauvin’s report for review. Chauvin is the lead investigator.
She said the defendant also reviewed a video of his interview in the Fort Bend County jail and an audio recorded by Chauvin. He was also provided a Texas DPS Crime Lab report on luminal testing of the trunk of Baby Ray’s mother’s car where his and her bodies were allegedly transported to a burn pit.
Clapp signed an order allowing the defense team to withdraw from the case, and Satterfield called his first witness, former Wharton County sheriff’s deputy Taylor Brown.
The defendant asked Brown to recall June 16, 2018, the day Henry Floyd finally told Chauvin that bodies were in a burn pit on his property near Burr, and that he’d seen a body in the burn pit, that of Ray Shawn Hudson, and two bodies lying on the ground near his late brother Elliott’s house — those of Baby Ray and his mother Maya Rivera.
Satterfield asked Brown to recall his duties that day and who told him what to do. He said he was acting under the authority of Chauvin, and once Chauvin learned bodies were on the property, Chauvin told Brown to “hold the scene.”
The next witness was Ranger James Wilkins. Satterfield also asked him his role in the investigation, but he focused on the area near Elliott Floyd’s house. He asked Wilkins what he would typically find at a murder scene. The Ranger said shell casings, blood, brain matter and skin cells among other evidence.
Wilkins said all he found near that house were a couple of shell casings.
Sheriff’s investigator Sgt. Matt Machart, under similar questioning from Satterfield, said he had not seen blood, brain matter, car tire tracks or evidence of animal activity at the crime scene.
The defendant also called to the stand Colton Frankum, a neighbor of Henry Floyd’s, who witnessed a fire in the burn pit the evening of June 10; Kajuanique Glass, a cousin of Ray Shawn’s; detective Jonathan White of the Angleton Police Department; and Johana Bonilla, Ray Shawn Sr.’s mother.
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