HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A jury found Dazrine Chagoya-Williams guilty of capital murder Friday in the death of her nearly two-year-old son, Mason. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Over the last week two weeks, prosecutors brought forward more than two dozen witnesses and presented roughly 200 pieces of evidence to a jury which unanimously decided Chagoya-Williams — alongside her husband and the child’s father, Stevie Williams — is responsible for the death of their young son.
Stevie was found guilty in October 2021 of capital murder by a different jury. He is appealing that verdict, court records show.
In closing arguments, the defense worked to convince jurors it was only Stevie responsible for Mason’s death, not Chagoya-Williams. They said the state did not provide evidence to show Chagoya-Williams was involved at all, though she was in the house when Mason died.
“Even if she didn’t do it herself — I think she did — she knows what’s happening, she knows what’s going on … and she certainly didn’t do anything to prevent it,” the state countered. They said the evidence points to both parents and that Chagoya-Williams should be found guilty of capital murder. The jury agreed.
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Jury disregards lesser charges
After the state rested its case, the defense had its chance to present witnesses and evidence to the jury Thursday. Chagoya-Williams did not give her first-hand account of what happened.
“I do not want to testify,” she said under oath while the jury was not present.
In an attempted all-or-nothing strategy, Chagoya-Williams also testified outside of the presence of the jury that she did not want lesser included offenses, something her defense attorneys have been fighting for. That would mean the jury would have only had the option to find Chagoya-Williams guilty or not guilty of capital murder of a child under the age of 10. They would not have been presented less serious charges.
After some back and forth, Judge Bill Henry superseded both sides and the lesser included offenses were included, meaning the jury could have found Chagoya-Williams guilty of manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide instead of capital murder.
They instead found her guilty of capital murder.