Jones v. Frazier, 01-21-00297-CV

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas
Docket Number01-21-00297-CV
Decision Date23 August 2022



No. 01-21-00297-CV

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

August 23, 2022

On Appeal from the 280th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2021-07145

Panel consists of Justices Kelly, Goodman, and Guerra.


Peter Kelly, Justice

This is an appeal from a protective order granted by the trial court against appellant Stephen McAshan Jones ("Stephen") involving his child, Sam, and the mother of the child, appellee Krista Frazier ("Krista"). In four issues Stephen argues that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support the order,


that the trial court erred in entering an order lasting more than two years, that the trial court terminated his parental rights to his child, and that the trial court erred in awarding attorney's fees. We affirm.


Stephen and Krista are the parents of five-year-old Sam.[1] Stephen and Krista never married, and the record does not reflect that Sam is the subject of a suit affecting the parent child relationship. On February 4, 2021, Krista applied for a protective order in Harris County pursuant to Title IV of the Texas Family Code and Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 7B. Krista alleged that Stephen had engaged in family violence by committing acts that were intended "to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or were threats that reasonably placed [Krista and Sam] in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault." The Harris County District Clerk assigned Krista's application for a protective order to the 280th District Court of Harris County (the "280th District Court").

The 280th District Court issued a temporary ex parte protective order on February 8, 2021. On April 30, 2021, Stephen answered the application for the protective order asserting a general denial. On May 3, 2021, the court held a hearing on Krista's application for a protective order on May 3, 2021, at which


Krista, Stephen, and Stephen's friend testified. The parties submitted various exhibits and Krista's attorney also testified about attorney's fees.

A. May 3, 2021 hearing testimony

1. Krista's testimony

Krista testified that she was in an "on and off relationship with Stephen from the end of 2014 through 2016. They had one child together, Sam, who was five years old at the time of the hearing and lived with Krista. Krista described her relationship with Stephen as 'very rocky, very volatile." She also testified that since breaking up with Stephen four or five years ago, Stephen would disappear for several months, then come back aggressive, angry, and violent. She testified that physical violence occurred frequently and that Stephen had an issue with drugs.

Krista testified to several instances of physical violence and threats by Stephen. Krista testified that on the day before Thanksgiving 2015, Stephen grabbed her around the neck in a "horse collar" and dragged her down the stairs by her hair and neck. At the time, she was pregnant with Sam and due to give birth in about a month. Stephen dragged Krista down a staircase, and she sustained injuries to her knees and back. The incident occurred after Krista told Stephen that she did not want to attend Zoo Lights because she was preparing Thanksgiving dinner for twelve people. Stephen told Krista that she was selfish and lazy and started hitting his fist on things. Stephen dragged her down the stairs and threw her out of the


house. She did not have her belongings and went to her mother's house. Krista and Stephen stayed apart for a few weeks until Sam was born. The incident occurred in front of Stephen's minor daughter.

Krista testified that in early 2016, Stephen was working temporarily in Phoenix, Arizona. Krista flew with newborn Sam to visit Stephen. When she arrived with Sam, she was exhausted. Stephen was angry and believed Krista was sleeping too much during the day and night. On the third day of the visit, Stephen became very angry that Sam was crying. He picked up Sam and shook him violently against a lamp, exclaiming that Sam could be near its bright light if he wanted to be awake. Krista immediately left the room with the child, packed up her things as Stephen screamed at her, and went to the airport to fly back to Houston. Stephen was mad that she did so and threatened to take Sam from her. The court heard a recording of a voicemail that Stephen left for Krista, not knowing she had left Arizona, where he threatened to take Sam from her multiple times.

In April 2016, Stephen became irate when he learned that Krista had sold tickets to the Final Four basketball game. At the time, they were not living together. Krista originally obtained the tickets for them to go to the Final Four. Given the incident in Phoenix, Krista sold them. Krista went to Stephen's house to retrieve some belongings, and when she told him she had sold the tickets, he began screaming. Krista stated that it was terrifying. Stephen pulled her down a spiral


staircase. Krista fell and injured her tailbone, knees, and wrist. Infant Sam was waiting in the car. The trial court viewed a photograph of the injuries to Krista's leg. Krista did not call the police because Stephen threatened to take Sam from her. Instead, she reached out to Stephen's ex-wife, who helped her financially.

Krista testified that Stephen regularly threatened her. On May 5, 2016, Stephen left a voicemail message for Krista where he stated that she was going to "get come up on." She interpreted this as a threat to her life. He told her that she needed to kill herself, that she was worthless, and that she needed to die. He also threatened to drag Krista's mother out of her apartment by her hair.

In March 2017, Stephen threw a loveseat at Krista, broke her phone and her mother's phone to prevent them from calling the police, and punched Krista in the face. Krista testified that her mother was living at Krista's house because she was terminally ill with lung cancer. Stephen came over to help with furniture. He became angry with Krista and called her names. She asked him to leave, and he became extremely upset and started throwing furniture. He picked up a loveseat and threw it across the room. He then punched Krista in the face and broke her phone to prevent her from calling the police. At the time, Sam was in a playpen in the same room as Krista's mother. Krista's mother, who was connected to necessary medical equipment, attempted to get up from her hospital bed to get Sam away from the violence. In the process, she fell and severely injured her face.


Stephen broke Krista's mother's phone to prevent her from calling the police. Photographs of Krista's mother's injuries and Krista's injuries were admitted into evidence. After Stephen left Krista's condominium, he texted her that "if I'm going to jail then taking you down." Krista responded that she was not scared of Stephen, and he texted again saying, "You should be because I would have you killed."

Krista testified that she was scared to press charges related to the loveseat incident. She did not want to make the situation worse. She was also close with Stephen's parents and did not want to hurt them. Stephen threatened Krista that he knew "the system" well enough and that he would take her son from her if she ever reported the incidents.

Krista also testified that Stephen was aggressive toward her dog. In 2017, Stephen kicked Krista's elderly dog in the face, causing damage to the dog's eye. A photograph of the dog's injury was admitted into evidence.

In November 2018, Stephen came to Krista's house wanting to see Sam. When she asked Stephen to leave, Stephen shoved Krista's head into the wall and held it there. She testified that he did so very forcefully and that it hurt badly. A picture of injuries to her face after the incident was admitted into evidence.

Krista also testified that in fall 2018, Stephen came to her house and told her that he had been awake for five days using drugs. While at her house, Stephen


stared at Krista and told her that he would "strangle the last life drop out of [her] and bury [her] body in the woods."

Krista testified that in 2019 and 2020, Stephen verbally assaulted her and threatened her constantly. In July 2020, he became angry when she would not sign a document that stated he was providing child support for Sam, when he was not doing so. Stephen also called child protective services and reported that Krista was abusing Sam. Though the investigation cleared Krista, Krista testified that Stephen reported the investigation to a private school where Krista sought to enroll Sam. The school would have helped him with his autism spectrum disorder. Suddenly, the school stated that they would not accept Sam.

In January 2021, Krista noticed a black Dodge Charger parked outside of her house for long periods of time. The car followed her when she left the house. Later in January, a man that was a friend of Stephen's crashed his black Dodge Charger into Krista's vehicle in an intersection. The manner appeared to be intentional. She testified that she believed Stephen initiated the involvement of the Dodge Charger.

2. Stephen's friend's testimony

A friend of Stephen's testified that he had known Stephen for many years and that he knew Krista as the mother of Stephen's child. The friend also took care of Krista's mother for six months during her cancer diagnosis. The friend did not witness any physical altercation between Krista's mother and Stephen. On cross-


examination, the friend admitted that between 2014 and 2017 he had been convicted of theft of services, forgery, lying to the police about identification, and possession of a controlled substance. He also testified that he was given the job to care for Krista's mother because he told Krista's...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT