Appeal from the 358th District Court Ector County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. D-44, 330
consists of: Wright, C.J., Willson, J., and Bailey, J.
jury convicted Appellant of three counts of the offense of
endangering a child and assessed her punishment at
confinement for two years for each conviction. However, the
jury recommended that the trial court suspend the imposition
of Appellant's sentence. The trial court followed the
jury's recommendation, suspended the imposition of the
sentence and placed Appellant on community supervision for
five years. On appeal, Appellant challenges the sufficiency
of the evidence to support each of her three convictions. We
The Charged Offenses
grand jury returned a three-count indictment against
Appellant for the offenses of endangering a child younger
than fifteen years of age, namely J.H., B.B., and B.H., when
Appellant "intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with
criminal negligence" placed her children in
"imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or
mental impairment, " when she left them in filthy living
conditions that exposed them to "insect bites, illness,
and disease." Appellant pleaded not guilty and proceeded
to trial before a jury.
person commits the offense of child endangerment if she
"intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal
negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that
places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of
death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment."
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 22.041(c) (West 2011).
Evidence at Trial
is the mother of three children: J.H., B.B., and B.H.
Appellant and her children lived in an approximately 1,
200-square foot home with her mother, her brother, her
brother's wife, and her brother's two children. Many
animals, including birds, gerbils, three dogs and a clowder
of cats, also lived in the house. Animal feces littered the
floors, and insects infested the home.
J.H., an eight-month-old child, was admitted to the hospital
for a high fever, a rash on his leg, and insect bites all
over his body.
point, Appellant noticed that J.H. had a fever. Only after
she had given J.H. Tylenol and Advil for three days did she
take him to the emergency room at the hospital. A nurse
practitioner, Ron Bacani, examined J.H. and admitted J.H. to
the hospital because J.H. had a temperature of 105.3 degrees
and had an infection that could progress into septicemia or
blood poisoning from bacteria, if not promptly treated. He
diagnosed J.H. with a fever and a skin infection, cellulitis,
caused by insect bites. Bacani explained that the insect
bites that covered J.H.'s body led to an infection and
caused his high fever. He also testified that cockroaches
crawled out of the diaper bag that Appellant brought with her
to the hospital.
notified a pediatric doctor. J.H. received antibiotics and
remained in the hospital for three days. Because J.H.'s
physical condition and ill health alarmed Bacani, he called
Child Protective Services. CPS notified the Odessa Police
Police observed the children's physical conditions and
investigated their living conditions.
Lacey, an officer with the Odessa Police Department, arrived
at the hospital and noticed that J.H. had insect bites all
over his arms, legs, and head and that he had a large rash on
his right leg. Officer Lacey said that J.H. had been crying
and was "obviously in some sort of distress." Brad
Cline, a detective with the Odessa Police Department, went to
Appellant's home to do a welfare check on Appellant's
other two children. When Detective Cline arrived at
Appellant's home, he noticed several cats coming out the
window near the door, saw big and little cats in the house,
and smelled "a really foul odor coming out of the
house." Once he entered the home, Detective Cline
noticed cat feces everywhere on the floor of the living room.
Detective Cline explained that the unsanitary conditions were
so severe that Appellant had to have known of the large
amount of feces and insects in the home. The house also
contained several cages for pet birds and rodents. Detective
Cline saw that both living and dead insects covered the
floors of the house. Piles of clothes and trash littered the
living room. Dirty dishes, trash, and insects were strewn
throughout the kitchen. He also saw beer cans and trash that
littered the floor. Trash, dead and living insects, and other
items were on the floor in every part of the house. In
addition, Detective Cline observed that mold covered the
interior of a nonworking refrigerator. When Detective ...