EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY- At 6:18 p.m. on Saturday, Splendora Police, assisted by Patton Village Police, and Montgomery County Hospital District medics responded to a 911 report of a traffic accident and altercation in the 15000 block of First St. near Memorial Dr. in Splendora, where they found a man stabbed to death in a ditch by the railroad tracks.
The deceased was identified as 27-year-old Shawn Michael Porter of Splendora.
Thomas Jason Amburn, 31, of Splendora was booked into the Montgomery County Jail at 5:12 a.m. on Sunday, charged with murder. Amburn’s bond is set at $100,000.
Before the night was over agencies represented at the crime scene included the Splendora Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Rangers, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and Union Pacific Railroad Police. Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts was also present for a considerable length of time.
According to MCSO Lt. Bill Bucks, Porter was stabbed during an altercation between him and another man regarding a woman who was also present. The woman was identified as Lindsey Porter, Shawn’s legal wife, according to neighbors.
Both men had residences at a mobile home park located at 15081 First Street.
The fatal love triangle can be confusing, because according to Jason Amburn’s soon to be ex-mother-in-law, whose name is withheld for her privacy, Lindsey Porter had been living with Jason Amburn, but was still legally married to Shawn Porter.
Lindsey Porter was in the vehicle with her estranged husband Shawn when the altercation that led to his death began.
Amburn’s mother-in-law said, it was her understanding that Lindsey Porter and both men attended a “mud race” earlier in the day on Saturday, where Lindsey Porter left with her husband Shawn, instead of her live-in boyfriend, Amburn.
His mother-in-law said Amburn’s young daughter was with him, and before the altercation occurred, he took the child to his mother’s residence across the street from his.
Her in-depth account of events leading to the homicide matches the basic scenario released by law enforcement.
“It was actually more of a family violence,” Bucks said. “The female jumped into a vehicle (with Porter) and tried to leave.”
Porter, who was driving a passenger car, tried to go north on First Street, which runs alongside the railroad tracks between Splendora and Patton Village. Bucks said their investigation indicated Amburn used his pickup to block the road, causing Porter’s car to run into the ditch beside the tracks. At that point, the fatal altercation began, he said.
Contrary to the initial 911 call, Bucks said there was little if any contact between the two vehicles, and they were more or less beside one another in the end.
Bucks said there were prior incidents involving the same parties.
Public Data shows Amburn has a lengthy criminal record including a charge of aggravated assault causes serious bodily injury, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault causes bodily injury family member. Other priors include possession of a controlled substance; driving while intoxicated; failure to give notice striking a highway fixture or landscaping and driving while license suspended.
Lt. Bucks said he could only release basic details, since his agency’s Major Crimes Unit Crime Scene Investigators were assisting the Texas Rangers in their investigation. Splendora Police contacted the Rangers for assistance, which is standard practice with smaller departments when a major crime is committed.
Investigators interviewed Jason Amburn and Lindsey Porter overnight, before eventually arresting Amburn for murder.
SPD Chief Alex Hadrych said he appreciated everyone’s response and handling of the situation. In addition to the MCSO and Texas Rangers, Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon responded to the scene personally, and remained until around 3 a.m. on Sunday.
Ligon’s presence was part of his administration’s policy that is new to Montgomery County, which is to have a representative of his office on traffic fatalities involving alcohol or other criminal acts and on every homicide investigation.
Several officers and others on scene praised Ligon for “going the extra mile.”
So far, his office has had a physical presence at every such death investigation.
“We’ll continue to do so as long as I’m District Attorney,” Ligon said.
His office has been busy lately, since Porter’s death marked the county’s third homicide in eight days.
According to Ligon, a first-hand look at the scene and investigation gives prosecutors a distinct advantage versus waiting a few days and having only photos and reports to review.
“A good district attorney knows you work a crime scene from the closing arguments backwards,” Ligon said. “It allows you to anticipate the defense.”
An officer’s job is to establish probable cause, which the District Attorney takes and turns into reasonable doubt, Ligon said.
The DA likened the process to “reverse engineering.”
Like Hadrych and Ligon, Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts was on the scene until the early hours of Sunday, saying it was his obligation to make sure his part of the process was accurate.
Metts conducted an inquest and ordered the remains taken to the Southeast Texas Forensic Center in Conroe for autopsy.