Man given maximum sentence for death of girlfriend's 2-year-old, and severely injuring baby in 2019

Mycah Hatfield Image
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Man sentenced to maximum for 2019 death of girlfriend's 2-year-old
Austin Reid plead guilty to two counts of injury to a child for the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old child and injuring their infant son in 2019.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Victims' family members cheered as a man was given the maximum sentence for two counts of injury to a child in what the prosecutor called "the worst one" he has handled.

Austin Reid, 25, entered guilty pleas on both charges and was sentenced by a judge to 50 years on each.

He was in a relationship with Emily Aust in 2019. She had a 2-year-old son, Lucas, from a previous relationship with Ryan Samora.

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In May of that year, Lucas died from severe injuries all over his body, according to the prosecutor. His autopsy was ruled as undetermined.

"He did not agree with the ruling of the autopsy," prosecutor Gilbert Sawtelle said of a doctor from Texas Children's Hospital he called to the stand. "He coincidentally treated both boys, and the evidence is overwhelming that this wasn't an accident."

Sawtelle told ABC13 that the moment he got the case, he knew Lucas was killed.

At the time of Lucas' death, Aust was pregnant with Reid's child.

About nine months later, when their child was four weeks old, he was taken by Life Flight to Texas Children's Hospital with similar severe injuries. Charging documents show he had a dislocated elbow and injuries consistent with blunt-force trauma. That child survived.

Sawtelle said Reid admitted to being on meth, marijuana, and Xanax when both children sustained injuries.

The sentencing hearing was the first time Samora heard all the details of his son's death.

"You could tell he's not really remorseful at all," Samora said. He hoped Reid would apologize for his actions in court. "At least a 'sorry,' but he didn't even look our way at all," Samora said.

Witnesses called by the defense to testify during the hearing said they have spoken to Reid since it happened, and he has expressed regret.

The prosecutor argued that the second instance of abuse showed he was not remorseful.

Reid remained out on bond with a GPS ankle monitor after entering his guilty pleas. In March 2023, he removed the tracker and fled the state before being found in Fairplay, Colorado, days later.

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During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors played body camera footage of his arrest. In the video, Reid can be heard telling the Colorado officer to kill him because if he is arrested, he will go to prison for something he did not do.

There is a chance that at least five additional felonies will be filed against Reid in Colorado, according to Sawtelle.

The defense called several witnesses to the stand during the hearing who spoke about Reid's drug use and the effect his parents' divorce had on him in his early teen years.

Reid's attorney pushed for a 10-year sentence.

Though Reid is eligible for parole after 25 years, Sawtelle does not believe he will ever be released.

"When he was in Harris County jail, he assaulted another inmate so bad that they had to send him to the hospital," Sawtelle said. "He had blood all over his face. This is his pattern of conduct, and I know that he's not going to be able to stay incident free in prison."

RELATED: Houston parents charged after baby's death ruled a homicide from blunt force injuries, police say

Aust, whose cases are pending, is also charged with two counts of injury to a child and remains in jail.

In response to Reid's sentencing, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said the following:

"Children are the most innocent and vulnerable people in our community, and when a child abuser hurts, maims and kills them, we work hard to get justice for the victims and their family," Ogg said. "This child abuser deserves to spend decades, and hopefully the rest of his life, in prison."

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