San Angelo man faces capital murder hearing Monday

Justin Lane Slatton, 23, remains in custody in the Bell County Jail in lieu of bonds totaling $3 million.
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) A San Angelo man is set for a status hearing Monday in Bell County’s 426th District Court charged with capital murder in the April 13, 2016 killings of Jonathan Hess and Vicente Hernandez in Temple.

Justin Lane Slatton, 23, remains in custody in the Bell County Jail in lieu of bonds totaling $3 million, charged with one count of capital murder and two counts of murder, Bell County Jail records show.

Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza has said his office is not seeking a death penalty in the case, so if found guilty at trial, Slatton will face an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Slatton, along with Lupe Martinez Chappa III and Rodrigo Lara Gutierrez, also of San Angelo, stand accused of driving from San Angelo to Temple to commit the murders then returned to Tom Green County immediately after the men were shot.

Temple police, San Angelo police and Texas Rangers used data from Gutierrez’s cellular telephone to establish a timeline.

On the night of the shootings Temple police found Hess shot several times; his body lying on a sofa inside a residence, where officers had been sent to a shots fired call.

Hernandez still was alive, bleeding when found, and he was rushed to a Temple hospital but died a few hours later.

Rangers collected tire track impressions at the scene, which eventually they were able to tie to Gutierrez’s father’s black Dodge Charger, and, they had a witness.

Hess’s girlfriend had been at the residence when the shootings happened and she told investigators two men she didn’t know walked up to the residence and shot both men, then one of them demanded money from her, the arrest affidavit stated.

She later, in a police photo line-up, identified Slatton as the suspect who shot Hess, and Chappa as the suspect who shot Hernandez.

San Angelo police apprehended all three men on Bell County warrants, held them there and later transferred them to Belton to await their trials.

Slatton is represented by long-time Bell County attorney James Kreimeier.