JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - According to the arrest affidavit, the man charged with murder in the death of an 85-year-old Jasper man confessed to causing the death of Herbert W. Deaton, who was reported missing on Nov. 11, 2014 after family members could not get in touch with him.
Robert Kelly Mounts, 48, of Vidor, and his wife, Ashley Nicole Lewis, 29, of Newton, were both charged with first-degree felony murder, according to court records. Each person's bail was set at $500,000.
A previous East Texas News story stated that Mounts and Lewis were arrested in Terre Haute, Indiana in early February. They were originally arrested on outstanding Jasper County warrants for credit card abuse and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
The arrest affidavit stated that Deaton's daughter, Mary Ewart walked into the Jasper County Sheriff's office on Nov. 12. 2014 looking for help finding her father. She told sheriff's deputies that her father's cardiologist had called her the day before and told her they were unable to get in touch with Deaton about a doctor's appoint that he had scheduled for that day.
Ewart also told the JCSO deputies that River City Hospice had also called on Nov. 11, 2014 and a representative said that they had not been able to contact Deaton for an entire week. The affidavit stated that Ewart also said that she had talked to an employee of the Upper Jasper County Water Authority who said that Lewis had called and said that she had driven Deaton to his residence in his truck.
Later on Nov. 12, 2014, JCSO deputies went to Deaton's house in the 1600 block of County Road 73 to perform a welfare check because of Deaton's age and medical problems requiring daily medication. After the deputies entered the house, they found it empty.
In addition, the deputies found "an abundance of medications" in Deaton's name, along with his dog. The affidavit stated that although the Jasper County law enforcement community knew that Deaton had several guns at his house, no weapons were found there, the affidavit stated. The deputies also found Deaton's walker under the attached carport of the house.
"At that time it was unknown if Mr. Deaton was away voluntarily and of his own volition or was actually missing' the affidavit stated.
During their investigation, the deputies learned that Lewis had been acting as a caregiver and a housekeeper for Deaton. After law enforcement officers were unable to get in contact with Lewis, they went to her mother's house. Lewis' mother told the deputies that her daughter and Mounts had moved out of her home on Nov. 5, 2014 to live with and care for Deaton.
According to the affidavit, Lewis' mother told the deputies that when the couple left, Lewis was driving their vehicle and Mounts was driving Deaton's silver 2011 Chevrolet pickup.
"Robert Mounts told [Lewis' mother] that the Chevrolet truck he was driving was going to be his,' the affidavit stated.
Further investigation revealed that Deaton and Mounts went to Hollis Tire in Jasper on Nov. 3, 2014 and bought two tires with Deaton's credit card. On the same day, Deaton and Mounts were observed at the Jasper Walmart buying groceries.
The affidavit stated that Deaton's bank card was used at gas stations in Huntington, Mt. Enterprise, and Canton on Nov. 6, 2014.
When Lewis' mother spoke to her daughter again on Nov. 9, 2014, Lewis told her that she and her husband were in Maryville Tennessee, the affidavit stated. She asked Lewis what they had done with Deaton's truck, and her daughter said that they drove it back to his house and left the keys in it, according to the affidavit.
In addition, Lewis allegedly told her mother that she didn't know where Lewis was and suggested that he could be in Nacogdoches with his girlfriend.
On. Nov. 13, 2014, the JSCO deputies got written permission to search Deaton's home and property. The two deputies and Jasper County Sheriff Mitchell Newman found the decomposing body of an older white man under a brush pile. At that point, they chose not to search any further until a search warrant could be obtained.
A search warrant was executed the next day. An autopsy was ordered, and the body was identified as Deaton by matching the serial number on his pacemaker to medical records bearing the same number.
"The preliminary manner of death of death was ruled homicide," the affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit, information obtained from Boston Scientific indicated that Deaton's pacemaker didn't show any activity after 2:46 p.m. on Nov. 4, 2014.
Further investigation revealed that Deaton was last seen alive when a nurse from the River City Hospice went to see him at his house on Nov. 3, 2014, the affidavit stated.
When another hospice nurse went to Deaton's house later that day, the Volkswagen belonging to Mounts and Lewis was there, as was Deaton's pickup. The nurse told authorities that when she spoke to Lewis, she told her that Deaton had left, according to the affidavit.
Surveillance footage from the Jasper Walmart later that day shows Mounts walking into the electronics department and buying a computer with Deaton's credit card, the affidavit stated. The video also shows Mounts and Lewis checking out together and leaving in their Volkswagen and Deaton's pickup.
Lewis' mother told JCSO deputies that she asked her daughter and son-in-law where they were going early the morning of Nov. 5, 2014, and they responded that they were going to go put the other tires on Deaton's truck, the affidavit stated.
The next day, Lewis allegedly told her mother to put out what she wanted for dinner and that they would be back to cook it. However, they never showed up, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, the Jasper County deputies sought an arrest warrant for murder against Lewis because she supplied false information and because witness statements showed that Lewis was at Deaton's residence at his approximate time of death.
The affidavit stated that after Mounts and Lewis were extradited back to Texas, Mounts confessed to causing Deaton's death during a video interview on Feb. 9.