Thanksgiving Behind Bars
SAN ANGELO, TX — On November 13, 2015, Tina Chappell was accused of murdering Roger Fletcher. His body was found at 4th and Fleming Street, just off the Mertzon Highway. He had been shot “multiple” times, said the officer on scene.
Not only did Fletcher’s life end that day, but life was irreversibly altered for Chappell as well.
She can tell you down to the day how long she has been in the Tom Green County Jail: As of this writing, “two years and 8 days.”
What happened that day, according to Chappelle, “I was trying to protect me and my kids. He said he was going to kill us, me and my kids, and I believed him. He always said it.”
Above: Irion County Sheriff's officers found a dead body on a Wednesday morning in 2015. (LIVE! Photo\John Basquez)
“I got him first, or he was going to kill us.”
What brought Chappell to tears was the separation from her kids, who are grown adults. She has a daughter in Shannon Hospital “with fluid around her heart.”
“I don’t know how she’s doing. My son works a lot in the oil fields. I tried to call him a few days back but his phone goes right to voicemail.”
Another daughter lives in Ballinger
Chappell has an 8th grade education. “My parents pulled me out of school so I could work.”
She never went back to get her GED. She is soft spoken, very articulate.
More than a few times Tina talked about missing her kids, and finally cried , genuinely distraught.
When I asked Tina how life was for her, she brightened up. “They are so good to me in here. They really are.”
“There are four of us in one pod. It’s all nice. I haven’t been in any trouble. I haven’t been written up for anything.”
“If there’s something going on I mind my own business.”
But aside from worries about her children, she is confused about what is going on with her case.
Tina has had two psychological evaluations. At one hearing she was found to be incompetent to stand trial.
In July, after another evaluation, she was found competent to stand trial, but isn’t sure that she has a trial date yet.
She asked me if I knew her attorney, Randy Stout, and if he was a good man.
The same themes kept repeating over and over: “I was protecting me and my children.” “I was never in trouble before, but he (Fletcher) had a long record.”
Meanwhile, a woman visitor in the booth next to mine was having a pretty good time laughing, using horrible language, and racial slurs.
Evidently, spending the holiday behind bars means different things to different people.
As we were rapping up our conversation, I asked Tina if she needed anything. “Yes,” she said. “Please call my son for me.”