Parents of Alabama-Coushatta homicide victim say grand jury failed him

Matthew Battise (Source: Polk County Jail)
Matthew Battise (Source: Polk County Jail)
Spencer Sadler (Source: Facebook)
Spencer Sadler (Source: Facebook)

LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - A Polk County grand jury has indicted a Lufkin man in connection to the death of a Livingston man at the Alabama-Coushatta reservation in April.

Matthew Todd Battise, 23, is now charged with second-degree manslaughter.

District Attorney Lee Hon confirmed the charge is in connection to the death of Spencer James Sadler. Sadler died the morning of April 17 at a home in the Alabama-Coushatta reservation.

Hon said he could not speculate on why the grand jury chose a charge of manslaughter over the first-degree felony of murder because he is not privy to the grand jury's discussions on the charge.

The indictment alleges Battise caused the death of Sadler by hitting and kicking him. The indictment is the first document released to the public which provides an answer in to how Sadler died.

Tribe officials have been tight-lipped on the investigation and refused to release an arrest affidavit in April, when Battise was arrested for aggravated assault, claiming they did not have to do so because they are not bound by state open records laws.

Justice of the Peace Larry Whitworth has not released the autopsy for Sadler.

The grand jury handed down the indictment on Friday and Battise was booked into the Polk County Jail on Wednesday, where he is being held on a $25,000 bond.

Battise was previously held in the San Jacinto County Jail on the tribe charge.

Since his death on the East Texas tribal land Sadler's parents said they have been given limited information into his death.

"It's just saddening because manslaughter is all they're going to charge him with," said Sadler's father, William. "We thought it should have been murder."

According to court documents, Battise was indicted after authorities said he caused Sadler's death by hitting and kicking him. To this day the family has yet to see the autopsy.

"They should give us records to our child," said his mother, Debra.

Seven months after laying Spencer to rest, Debra Sadler says the pain is too much to think about.

"Truthfully, what we know what happened to our son is all I can handle," she said. "I cannot handle anything else knowing what they did to him."

The Sadlers will never get to see their son again. It's that thought that upsets them about Battise. If found guilty, the most he can serve in prison is 20 years.

"The grand jury just didn't do their job, or something," William Sadler said. "You know, how can you stomp somebody to death and only get manslaughter?"

Copyright 2016 KTRE. All rights reserved.