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State will not seek death penalty in capital murder case

By BY JESSICA PRIEST - JPRIEST@VICAD.COM
March 19, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated March 18, 2014 at 10:19 p.m.


The state will not seek the death penalty for a Victoria man accused of beating a man and torching his motel room.

Shawn Chapel, 33, is charged with capital murder in the death of Daniel Lee Silgero, 66.

He also faces a charge of arson after officials say he sprayed accelerant on Silgero's bed and ignited it Nov. 24.

If found guilty of capital murder, Chapel will be automatically sentenced to life in prison.

Criminal District Attorney Stephen Tyler filed a notice about the state's intent Monday.

Tyler said that when making the decision, he tried to determine what a jury would do as well as compare this case to others.

The most recent capital murder case in Victoria County in which the state sought the death penalty involved a defendant named Tyrel Richards.

Richards, accused of killing 17-year-old Cynthia Cole Shands, agreed to plead guilty earlier this month in exchange for life in prison.

Tyler said that the level of violence in the crime is a factor about seeking the death penalty.

"I don't mean to say that this wasn't brutal; it was. But the victim wasn't brutalized for as long a period of time as Cynthia," he said. "There were a combination of things (that factored into the decision). One was the wishes of the family, and two was the fact that the defendant showed some regrets for what he had done. In this case, you don't have those same factors."

Richards also had a lengthy, recorded interview with police in which he admitted to having homicidal thoughts.

Tyler said he thought the state's evidence in Chapel's case was strong.

Chapel is represented by attorney Elliott Costas, who could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Chapel is scheduled to appear next in court April 15 for a motions hearing.

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