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Hallettsville man stabbed to death; family describes act as self-defense

By Victoria Advocate
Aug. 11, 2010 at 3:11 a.m.


HALLETSVILLE - A Hallettsville man is dead after being stabbed by his stepson Tuesday night, Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon said Wednesday.

Shanon Reese Houseman, 42, died after being stabbed multiple times at his home in the 21570 block of Farm-to-Market Road 530 near the Speaks community in southern Lavaca County.

Officially, the details surrounding Houseman's death are still under investigation, Harmon said.

However, both Harmon and Houseman's family members shared details that helped piece together the fatal incident.

Harmon said officers were called twice that day to respond to reports of family disturbances at the home that Houseman had shared with his wife, Sharon, for the past two years.

His wife said the troubles began that morning when she asked her husband to read a letter she wrote him explaining her desire to end their 17-year-long marriage.

"I just decided to break up with him, and he did not take it well," she said.

Sharon Houseman declined to go into details about why she wanted a divorce, but she said it had nothing to do with violence.

Sharon Houseman and Jonell Lewis, the dead man's stepdaughter, described him as being "hot-headed," but both agreed the anger he exhibited Tuesday morning was uncharacteristic of him.

"He blew up and started threatening everyone in the house," said 28-year-old Lewis, who witnessed her stepfather's reaction. "We were afraid so we called the sheriff's office."

Houseman left before deputies arrived to investigate the first disturbance call, claiming he was headed back to his hometown of Mobile, Ala., said Lewis.

As it turned out, Houseman was not en route back to Alabama.

Instead, he returned to his Hallettsville home later that night, prompting his wife to make a second call for help.

Sharon Houseman said she and her husband were outside arguing when her 21-year-old son, Adam, came to her aid.

The fight ensued shortly thereafter, with the stepfather allegedly throwing the first blow.

"Shanon came after my son first with a bat and a machete," Sharon Houseman said. "He was very volatile." Family members declined to reveal Adam's last name, but they did say that his stepfather had helped raise him since the age of 2.

His mother said Adam, who had experienced a previous violent altercation with his stepfather when he was 16, was carrying a concealed knife for protection.

Lavaca County Sheriff's deputies arrived at the home after the incident, accompanied by the Texas Rangers.

The victim was stabbed with what appeared to be a "large, hunting-type knife," Harmon said.

Shanon Houseman was pronounced dead at the scene after 10 p.m.

His body was taken to the Travis County Medical Examiners' Office for an autopsy.

As of Wednesday evening, no arrests had been made.

The stepson declined to comment on the incident.

On Wednesday, those closest to Shanon remained shocked and confused about what caused the situation to escalate to such a violent point.

"His attitude changed just recently," Sharon Houseman said. "He just had a hot temper, and he let it get the best of him."

She continued, "Shanon was a good man. He had served in the Navy and he loved me and (his stepson)."

Childhood friend Marc Guffey was also in disbelief over his friend's death.

"All this was just a shock," said Guffey, who still lives in Mobile.

The two had recently reconnected online and were planning a face-to-face visit for September.

"He was a really, really nice guy who always had a smile on his face," said Guffey. "Even though he was a big guy, he always took up for the small guy."

A search of court records showed the victim had no prior criminal history in Lavaca County.

Also, Harmon said there was no record that law enforcement had been called out to the residence for family disturbances before Tuesday.

Lewis said the family is struggling to deal with their grief. They are doing it in the same house they moved to in an attempt to escape the violence and craziness of big city life, she said.

"My Mom's really taking this hard," said Lewis. "We moved out here to get away from BS and just live peacefully on our own property."

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