BELTON — A San Angelo man held on bonds that total $3 million had a status hearing scheduled Monday on the capital murder and murder charges filed against him in 2016 — but it didn’t happen.
“A hearing will be set at a later date,” Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said.
Justin Lane Slatton Jr., 23, is charged along with Lupe Martinez Chappa, 21, and Rodrigo Lara Gutierrez, 22, in the April 13, 2016, shooting deaths of Johnathan Hess, 26, of Temple, and Vicente Hernandez, 36, of Killeen.
Slatton, Chappa and Gutierrez are all from San Angelo.
Slatton won’t face the death penalty if convicted of capital murder because it was waived in July 2019 by the Bell County District Attorney’s office.
Slatton’s trial date was set for Dec. 9, followed by January and February dates for Chappa and Gutierrez. Each trial will occur in the 426th Judicial District Court with Judge Fancy Jezek presiding.
Chappa and Slatton are accused of shooting Hess and Hernandez in the 400 block of North Seventh Street. Gutierrez reportedly drove the getaway car.
Authorities searched for Slatton for months. He had gang ties and was considered armed and dangerous. Slatton eluded capture by law enforcement agencies and, in June 2016, was placed on the Texas Department of Public Safety 10 Most Wanted list.
Temple Police officers traveled to San Angelo and searched for days for Slatton with the San Angelo Police Department, Texas Rangers and DPS, but came back empty-handed.
When he was found, Slatton’s appearance had drastically changed. He had gained weight, had neck tattoos and more facial hair.
Slatton was arrested in September 2016 by San Angelo Police for the Temple warrant.
He could be sentenced to life in prison without the opportunity for parole if he’s found guilty.