Charges Reduced To Murder In Texas Child's Fire Death

The parents and grandparents of a 6-year-old boy killed in a mobile home fire started by a methamphetamine lab are now charged with murder instead of capital murder.


ABILENE, Texas (AP) -- The parents and grandparents of a 6-year-old boy killed in a mobile home fire started by a methamphetamine lab are now charged with murder instead of capital murder.

Jones County District Attorney Britt Thurman said the charges were reduced after investigators verified Colton Blain Dentler was older than 6.

Earlier this month a grand jury issued indictments against Russell Lee Dentler, 35; Amy Camille Dentler, 33; the child's maternal grandmother Patsy Carol Teague, 50; and her husband Lonnie Evert Teague, 51.

A capital murder charge, which can be filed when the victim is younger than 6, allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty, but Thurman had said he probably would seek a life prison sentence.

The four now face a sentence of five years to life in prison.

The four adults and six children were asleep March 3 when the blaze started in their mobile home near Anson, about 20 miles northwest of Abilene.

The adults also were indicted on drug charges, as well as charges of child endangerment in connection with four of the youngsters and attempted murder in connection with Colton's sister, who had to be revived.

Texas law states that an unintended death in the commission of another felony may result in a murder charge.