Jury trial set for man charged in connection to Grapeland woman's beating death

Jury trial set for man charged in connection to Grapeland woman's beating death
Vanessa Melson (Source: Facebook)
Vanessa Melson (Source: Facebook)

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - A date for a jury trial has been set for one of the three people who were charged and indicted in connection to the 2015 beating death of a Grapeland woman whose partially buried body was found in a shallow grave in Houston County Monday.

Robert David Mobley Jr., 41, of Elkhart, appeared in a Houston County court for a status hearing Monday morning. A trial setting hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 21 in his aggravated kidnapping case, and his jury trial is set to start on Aug. 22.

Mobley was indicted on a first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping charge in connection to to the murder of Vanessa Melson.

The text of Mobley's indictment states that he abducted Melson and held her "with the intent to inflict bodily injury" on her or "to violate or abuse" her sexually and used a deadly weapon (a club or a stick) in the commission of the crime.

According to previous reports, Melson's stepfather saw Melson leave his home and get into a pickup with a man her stepfather recognized as Mobley. He said that was the last time he saw Melson alive.

Witnesses said they saw Mobley beating Melson up as well as shoot her up repeatedly with meth. They said Mobley did it because Melson was a snitch.
In her video statement, Brenna Michelle Theurer, of Elkhart, told authorities that Vanessa Melson was screaming in pain at 6 a.m. on June 17, 2015, adding that she was begging for her life and to be allowed to see her children, the affidavit stated.

"Robert Mobley would only tell her to shut the f--- up," the affidavit stated. "Theurer confronted Mobley and told him to stop. Then, according to Theurer, Mobley approached her and told her she would be next if she did not shut up and that he would kill her if she contacted law enforcement."

The affidavit stated that as the beating got worse, Theurer told James Eddie Henderson, of Crockett, she was going to call 911, but he told her to sit down and shut up before she was next. Theurer told authorities that because she was in fear for her life that she fled to the back of the house.

About 15 minutes later, Melson grew quiet, and Theurer went back into the den area of the home, where she saw Mobley and Henderson facing away from her and looking "at Vanessa Melson's still body laying partially in the laundry room and partially in the garage," the affidavit stated.

Henderson was also indicted on an aggravated kidnapping charge.

On July 7, 2015, cadaver dogs found Melson's partially buried on Henderson's property about 115 yards southeast of his home.

Mobley was also charged with sexual assault after a jail shower incident that allegedly occurred back in January.
According to an arrest affidavit, Mobley and another man were in the shower on Jan. 27 and the man bent down to grab his conditioner when Mobley told the man "I'm gonna show you what it feels like" and then sexually assaulted him.

The affidavit states the man was able to get away from Mobley and another inmate rose up from his bunk and asked "is everything good?" and Mobley said "yeah" to the questioned and then eyed the other man in a threatening look so the other man responded "yeah" out of fear of retaliation.

The inmate was then taken to Harold's House, where a nurse confirmed sexual assault trauma to him.

A justice of the peace signed the warrant against Mobley on Jan. 31.

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