HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The state is expected to rest its case Thursday after a week and a half of testimony in the trial of Dazrine Chagoya-Williams, the Kyle mom who allegedly murdered her nearly two-year-old son, Mason, in 2018.
The final witness for the state will be Dr. Marion Forbes, a pediatric expert from Dell Children’s Hospital who has decades of experience in child abuse cases.
A jury will decide over the next few days whether Chagoya-Williams, alongside her husband and the child’s father, Stevie, is guilty of capital murder in the death of their young son. Stevie was found guilty in October 2021 of the same charge. He is appealing that verdict, court records show.
- Tuesday: Attorneys for Kyle mom point to father in death of nearly 2-year-old son
- Monday: Autopsy detailed in trial for Kyle mom who allegedly murdered young son
- Friday: ‘Dazrine had nothing to do with it’: Why that statement may not be allowed in the Kyle mom’s murder trial
- Thursday: Day cut short in fatal child abuse trial after family reveals new information
- Wednesday: ‘Something attacked him’: Trial continues for Kyle mom in alleged fatal child abuse case
- Tuesday: ‘Mason’s not okay’: New video shown in trial for Kyle mom who allegedly killed 2-year-old son
- October 2021: Kyle father who said ‘demons’ killed 2-year-old found guilty of capital murder
Who killed Mason?
Chagoya-Williams’ attorney leaned into Kyle Police Department Detective Joseph Swonke Wednesday, asking him what evidence the police department had that indicated it was one parent or the other that actually caused the injuries that led to Mason’s death.
“We can’t say for sure which one,” Swonke said, noting neither parent would confess or point a finger at the other. “We just know they were both there when he [Mason] died.”
The defense is working to prove it was Stevie responsible for Mason’s death, not Chagoya-Williams. Stevie’s lawyer also tried to point at the other parent.
The defense asked if it was possible both were involved to which Swonke responded: “I think it’s possible they both were involved and both knew about it.”
Previous CPS case, in the words of the parents
Mason was born in October 2016 to Chagoya-Williams and Stevie. Only a few months later, in January 2017, Mason’s parents brought him to Dell Children’s Hospital because of burns the parents reportedly told doctors were accidentally caused during a bath. During his examination at the hospital, Mason was found to have fractures; one in his wrist and 13 in his ribs.
Those injuries were the reason Child Protective Services removed Mason from his parents in late January 2017. After Stevie and Chagoya-Williams completed the steps necessary to be reunited with Mason, they were again given custody roughly a year later.
In Facebook videos pulled from the couple’s phones, Chagoya-Williams and Stevie addressed that CPS removal. Those videos were shown to the jury Wednesday morning.
“It’s not something that you just want to go share with the world. Parents make mistakes but we didn’t know,” Chagoya-Williams said.
Chagoya-Williams does most of the talking in the video. In it, she claims they were giving Mason a bath in the sink of Stevie’s grandmother’s home and that Mason was burned because the sink was backed up and the water heater was broken. She claimed water came “up” the drain and burned Mason.
For much of the video, she talks about taking Mason to the hospital and the process of talking to doctors, a caseworker, CPS and detectives — eventually learning Mason had other injuries. She regularly mentions interactions at the hospital that she thought were “weird” or “unprofessional.” She shared skepticism of the situation and even vocalized doubt that Mason actually had fractures.
“Even to this day, it’s like, ‘who hurt him?'” Chagoya-Williams said in the video. She suggested the hospital may have been covering up the fact that they actually hurt Mason. “Why are you all going to punish us for something somebody else did?” she recalled asking.
The state also had a Kyle detective read testimony from Chagoya-Williams from a prior CPS trial, had a caseworker for baby Dazrine testify and the jury heard from baby Dazrine’s adoptive father.
Shortly after Mason’s death, baby Dazrine was found to also have injuries: A large skull fracture and 22 rib fractures, among other internal and external injuries, a doctor testified.
Mason was found dead on July 4, 2018. His autopsy revealed his chest had been constricted to the point he could not breathe, cutting off oxygen to the brain, which ultimately caused his death. He was also found to have other internal and external injuries.
What happens next in this trial
The state only has one witness left: Forbes from Dell Children’s Hospital.
Forbes began testimony Wednesday afternoon by walking through X-rays and findings from a hospital visit for Mason in 2017. This is the visit, originally for burns, that led CPS to remove Mason from his parents for nearly a year.
Forbes will also walk through X-ray images and findings from baby Dazrine’s visit in 2018, the day after Mason died. She is expected to get to that, and the defense will be allowed to cross-examine Forbes, Thursday morning. We expect the state to rest their case at that point and the defense will then take over.
The defense indicated that Chagoya-Williams could testify in her own trial, but did not give a significant nod one way or the other when asked about timing by the judge. They did say they would introduce a few witnesses but that testimony would be brief.