HOUSTON – “Am I sorry he no longer walks on this earth? No,” said Shirley Kinchen.
But Kinchen did want to see her 48-year-old son-in-law Trent Paschal stand trial for murdering her daughter Savannah on October 21, 2020.
“After she let him know that she could no longer live with a person who was a habitual criminal,” she said.
Shirley shared an emotional testimony at a news conference with Crime Stoppers of Houston on Monday afternoon to comment on the apparent suicide of wanted fugitive Trent Paschal.
Paschal, accused of murdering his wife Savannah in La Marque, Texas, and then going on the run was found dead after authorities in Florida surrounded his vehicle and attempted to arrest him, according to an incident report.
Shirley spoke at length about her daughter, the man who killed her, and the issue of criminals being released on bond.
While Paschal was out on bond for murder, police say Paschal kept racking up more felony charges.
“And the judges saw fit to release him legally on bond all three times with us warning them don’t do it,” said Savannah’s father Mike Kinchen.
The judges from both Galveston and Harris Counties, who granted bond for Paschal, include 174th criminal District Court Judge Hazel Jones.
“It was the judges who let this man go three separate times knowing he was dangerous, and he was slippery, and that he had the potential to not show up,” Mike said.
Paschal spent 263 days as a wanted fugitive.
“So how many other Trent Paschals are out there,” said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers of Houston.
No one in Harris County can tell us how many people who are free from jail on multiple felony bonds are now wanted fugitives.
What’s Your Point? Suspects out on bond have killed more than 150 people in Harris County
Paschal’s run from the law ended on New Year’s Day when he took his own life in Ocala, Florida.
“It was torture every day, every minute,” said Shirley. “I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since October 21st, 2020.”
BELOW ARE TRANSCRIPTS FROM SAVANNAH PASCHAL’S PARENTS
“My name is Shirley Kinchen. Our daughter Savannah was murdered by her husband on October 21, 2020. After she let him know that she could no longer live with a person who was a habitual criminal and that she wanted more for their children.
Trent Paschal committed suicide on January 1, rather than surrender to law enforcement. He had been on the run for 263 days when a tip, and thank God for that person led law enforcement to his whereabouts.
Did I want him to be held responsible for his actions? Did I want to look him in the eye and for him to face me again? With what he had done? Yes.
Am I sorry that he no longer walks on this earth? No.
He is no longer a threat to my family or society. And as Andy’s said, we don’t know who he victimized, how many he victimized. We will continue to honor our daughter’s memory by fighting for bond reform and bringing light to a justice system that not only failed us and her children but so many other victims. And there are many victims. We waited a little over a year. Many people wait decades. We will continue to speak out to bring awareness to domestic violence. We will forever be grateful to the U.S. Marshals and to Andy and Crime Stoppers for their support during the most difficult, difficult time of our lives that’s all I have to say.”
On what it felt like while Trent was on the run:
“It was torture. I didn’t feel in my gut. I guess that he would come back to Texas, but I didn’t think he was going to murder my daughter. I, we both were always looking over our shoulder. . . We didn’t let the children out of our sight, and we had to explain to them that if there was a minute, a tiny chance of their safety, that we love them too much to take that chance. And so that part of that burden has been lifted. But it was torture. Every day, every minute I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since October 21, 2020. I’m hoping that that will change in the months ahead.”
On the subject of bail reform:
“More monitoring, when we saw on social media that he was not complying with his strict boundary restrictions when he was spending the weekend in Galveston and supposed to be under house arrest, … I think there needs to be stricter monitoring on the ankle monitors. Once the subpoena was done after he committed armed robbery or theft of the vehicle. It was found out that his ankle monitor had been on the charger in his mother’s home almost 90% of the time. I know by watching the news, there are criminals out there committing murder with ankle monitors on that is not acceptable. I would like for the judges to have more compassion and more leeway to look at the criminal records of these people before they’re allowed to wear an ankle monitor or to be released on bond. You know, when do the victim’s rights kick in and override the criminal’s rights?”
On how Savannah should be remembered:
“I would like Savannah to be remembered as an advocate for the underdog. We held a 5k walk in October near the anniversary of her death to raise money for Bay Area Turning Point and a scholarship fund that has been set up at our church We just want to continue to help others in a way that she did. She was working with Bay Area Turning Point. Ironically, she was working with them when she was murdered.
“I would like for our daughter to be remembered as a loving and caring individual. She worked in the funeral industry, helping people deal with sorrow and tragedy, and loss. She was working with Bay Area Turning Point. She was a loving mother. Her children were the light of her life. And those children are now living with us. We’re raising our grandchildren, and we have the processes in place for adoption, and they will be ours. And we continue to raise them and tell them what a great person their mother was so that she can be remembered for all of the good things that she did. Her light will not be shut off.”
Parents of murdered La Marque woman speak emotionally after suspect husband’s suicide