HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Family members testified Friday in the trial of Dazrine Chagoya-Williams — the young Kyle mother who allegedly murdered her nearly 2-year-old son.
A jury will decide over the next couple of weeks whether Chagoya-Williams, alongside her husband and the child’s father, Stevie, is guilty of capital murder in the death of Mason in 2018. Stevie was found guilty in October 2021 of the same charge. He is appealing that verdict, court records show.
‘Dazrine had nothing to do with it’
Attorneys on both sides of the case argued to Judge Bill Henry Friday why a conversation that reportedly happened between Chagoya-Williams’ mother and Stevie should or should not be brought before jurors.
After the judge asked the jury to leave the room, attorneys asked Linda Chagoya, Chagoya-Williams’ mother, to detail a conversation she had with Stevie in jail. She told the defense Stevie asked how Chagoya-Williams was doing and then said, “Dazrine [Chagoya-Williams] had nothing to do with it.”
The state argued that statement is inadmissible hearsay, meaning it’s asking the witness to speak to something they heard second-hand, and if the defense wants to include it they need to call Stevie as a witness so he can be cross-examined.
The state said this would set the precedent that anyone could walk into a courtroom and say ‘so and so told me they are guilty.’ The defense says it shows a possible alternate perpetrator. The judge will make a decision on that Monday before the trial continues.
Defense details secret child
Attorneys for Chagoya-Williams also said Stevie, who they are trying to pin as the person responsible in this case, had a child with another woman while dating Chagoya-Williams. After a flurry of objections from prosecutors, and back and forth outside of the presence of the jury, Judge Bill Henry allowed the defense to ask Linda about that child during cross-examination.
“Did Dazrine know about this?” the defense asked, to which Linda responded, “Dazrine didn’t know.”
The state said Stevie was also unaware that he had fathered another child until after Mason’s death and Stevie’s incarceration. Linda testified she found out a couple weeks after Mason was killed about Stevie’s third child.
The defense explained, without the jury present, that they were working to show a motive for Stevie.
Chagoya-Williams’ family testifies
The jury continued to hear from family members of both Stevie and Chagoya-Williams Friday morning. After remaining cross-examination of Stevie’s mother, Starlette Franks, the state called Amanda Del Cueto, Chagoya-Williams’ half-sister.
Del Cueto is nearly 18 years older than Chagoya-Williams and testified she was very close with her sister until Chagoya-Williams met Stevie. Del Cueto took Mason into her custody after Child Protective Services removed him from Stevie and Chagoya-Williams in 2017. She was his guardian for just short of a year.
Del Cueto said she was cut off from Mason after a court ordered he be returned to his parents and that she had a difficult relationship with the family after that point.
“I think he [Stevie] controlled how she [Chagoya-Williams] acted and what she said,” Del Cueto testified during cross-examination.
Before breaking for lunch, the jury also heard testimony from Garry Pruitt, Chagoya-Williams’ father. Stevie, Chagoya-Williams and the kids moved in with Pruitt in December 2017 — roughly the same time they got Mason back. It was in Pruitt’s home that police say Mason was killed. Pruitt was on vacation at the time.
He testified that Chagoya-Williams told him “something happened to him [Mason], they don’t know.”
Lindsay Ortiz, another half sister of Chagoya-Williams and Pruitt’s daughter, was also on the family vacation and returned home the same time as Pruitt, she said.
Ortiz was emotional on the stand Friday as she described learning Mason had died during that trip. Ortiz said she talked on the phone with Chagoya-Williams as the family drove home.
“She was saying things like, ‘Mason was too pure for this Earth’ and ‘he’s in a better place,'” Ortiz said. She testified Chagoya-Williams also asked Ortiz to tell police “Mason was a rough boy” if they called. She said that was the last time she talked to her sister.
During cross-examination of both of Chagoya-Williams’ half sisters, the defense asked if Chagoya-Williams ever babysat their kids. Both said yes and that their children adored her.
- 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
Timeline of events
The following timeline came from Stevie’s trial in October:
Mason was born in October 2016 to Dazrine 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 (CPS) removed Mason from his parents in late January 2017. After Stevie and Dazrine completed the steps necessary to be reunited with Mason, they were again given custody roughly a year later.
CPS testified it had stopped monitoring the family in March 2018. On July 4, 2018, Mason was found dead.
Evidence brought forward by the state included photos and videos from first responders of the scene where Mason was found dead, recorded interviews with Stevie following Mason’s death, photos and videos pulled off the couple’s phones and x-rays and photos taken of the injuries to both Mason and his younger sister.
Mason’s 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.
During testimony in Stevie’s trial, a pediatrician from Dell Children’s talked about her evaluation of Mason’s younger sister, also named Dazrine, after she was brought to the hospital by CPS the day after Mason’s death. She was eight months old at the time.
Baby Dazrine also had injuries. She had a large skull fracture and 22 rib fractures, among other internal and external injuries.
During interviews following Mason’s death, Stevie told investigators with the Kyle Police Department it was actually “demons” or something “evil” that had killed his son. Over the course of Stevie’s interview with police — which was more than an hour long and was played for the jury — Stevie maintained neither he nor his wife were involved in any way.
According to court documents, many of the same witnesses who testified in Stevie’s trial will also testify in Dazrine’s.