Case Update: Rat-Boy Accused of Killing 10-Month-Old Baby By Stuffing Her in a Backpack Asks for Release Due to COVID-19

Baby Marion Jester-Montoya in her Halloween outfit with a bow on her head
Marion Jester-Montoya.

I’m sure we all remember the case of ten-month-old Marion Jester-Montoya, who died in January after her mother’s boyfriend allegedly stuffed her into a backpack and left it in the trunk of his Dodge Charger while he worked all day rather than taking her to his mother’s house as he usually did.

No one, not even the so-called “man” himself, 27-year-old rat-boy Trevor Marquis Rowe, can explain why the fuck he would do such a thing. 

Well, none of that stopped this rat-boy “man” from trying to get himself out of jail on a legal technicality based on delays in the legal system caused by the current pandemic. Trevor — no, fuck it; I’m calling him Rat-Boy from here on out — has been held since January 8 in the Lubbock County (Texas) Detention Center on a bond of $2 million. 

Trevor Marquis Rowe's mug shot courtesy of Lubbock County Jail
Trevor “Rat-Boy” Rowe.
(Lubbock County Detention Center)

According to Texas legal statutes, the district attorney’s office has 90 days in which to convince a grand jury to indict a defendant for a felony. The statute states that if this deadline passes, the defendant must be released on a personal recognizance bond.

On March 29, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Executive Order GA-13, suspending certain aspects of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure during the global coronavirus pandemic, including the rule about releasing defendants of violent crimes on personal bonds.

The order was intended to prevent the release of “dangerous criminals” in Texas, including suspects accused of or previously convicted of violent crimes. Governor Abbott said upon signing the order, “Releasing dangerous criminals makes the state even less safe; that also complicates and slows our ability to respond to the disaster.”

Trevor Marquis Rowe at his friend Emilio Montoya's baby shower for baby Marion Jester-Montoya
Rat-Boy at a baby shower for Marion.

Clearly, cramming a baby into a backpack and letting her die in the trunk of a car counts as a “violent crime,” so Rat-Boy’s 90 day deadline came and went.

However, in early April, the ACLU of Texas, Texas Fair Defense Project, the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit opposing Governor Abbott’s order.

On April 10, Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st Civil District granted a temporary restraining order in the case.

Andre Segura, legal director of ACLU of Texas, said, “We are pleased that the court recognized the urgency of this matter and the need to press pause while it is heard in full. The governor has an important role to play in responding to this pandemic, but he cannot impede the ability of judges to use their discretion to release particular individuals, especially when lives are at risk.”

Baby Marion Jester-Montoya
Marion, the poster child for “unlawfully restrained.”

Attorneys with the Regional Public Defenders Office, which represents indigent defendants in death penalty cases, filed a petition with the court, saying, “The government’s interest in continued incarceration cannot be justified where incarceration itself exacerbates an ongoing and devastating public health crisis and brings a heightened risk of illness and death to people inside and outside the jail.”

The petition states that Rat-Boy believes he has been “unlawfully restrained of his liberty by the Sheriff of Lubbock County, Texas.”

Unlawfully restrained. The audacity of this little bitch! He “allegedly” admitted to police what he did to sweet baby Marion, zipping her into a backpack, and checking on her at lunch (what a prince) only to shove her back into the backpack and stow it in the trunk of his car. You want to whine about being unlawfully restrained, dude?

Luckily, on April 23, the Texas Supreme Court reinstated the governor’s order.

A statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton read, “The Texas Supreme Court’s decision rightfully protects the health and safety of Texans from the unlawful release of potentially thousands of dangerous individuals into our communities.”

The reinstatement of the order does not, however, prevent lower court judges from releasing certain individuals at their discretion.

Baby Marion Jester-Montoya
This little face is what matters.

On Friday, April 24, attorneys for the state and for Rat-Boy appeared by video conference in the 137th District Courtroom, along with Rat-Boy himself via webcam. 

Prosecutor Barron Slack argued that, even besides the governor’s order, offenses like capital murder do have exceptions in regard to bonds. “This is a capital case, with plenary evidence,” he said, presenting several exhibits to the court. These included police reports detailing Rat-Boy’s confession, the autopsy report showing that Marion died of asphyxiation, and video of a jail conversation between Rat-Boy and a family member in which Rat-Boy admitted to killing the baby. 

The family member, Prosecutor Slack said, told Rat-Boy to “start acting crazy.” Oh, good. Is his whole family trash?!

The prosecutor’s office plans to begin grand jury presentations during the first week of May. In the meantime, there have been zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Lubbock County Detention Center, so prosecutors contend that jail might be safer for Rat-Boy at this point. “Contrary to what Applicant has stated in his writ application, the LCDC has enacted extensive policies and procedures to face any potential threat posed by COVID-19,” they said in their response to his petition.”

Lubbock County Detention Center.

Considering the nature of the crime of which Rat-Boy is accused — capital murder — as well as his two prior misdemeanor convictions for domestic assault, Judge John McCledon told the attorneys and the defendant he will make a ruling at a later date. Until then, Rat-Boy will continue to cool his paws heels in jail.

Emilio Montoya holding his infant daughter, baby Marion Jester-Montoya
Emilio with infant Marion.

I think that’s the least the state can do in light of the horrific death Rat-Boy imposed upon a sweet, precious little girl of whom her father, Emilio Montoya, has only fond memories.

Marion would have turned one on February 10, and her family was planning a Minnie Mouse birthday party for her. In an interview with Lubbock Online, Emilio said she was crawling, learning to walk, and starting to talk, saying “Dada,” “yes,” and “no.”

“She was a very smart girl,” Emilio said. She had a stuffed elephant that played the song Do Your Ears Hang Low?, about which he said, “That was her favorite. She couldn’t press the button, so she made us do it. And if we weren’t fast enough she’d start yelling.”

He would give her an unhooked video game controller to play with while he played video games. “She liked to sit there and watch me.”

Veronica Weems with her daughter, baby Marion Jester-Montoya
Veronica Weems with baby Marion.

Emilio had joint custody with Marion’s mother, Veronica Weems, but Marion lived with him and his family for a total of about seven of the almost eleven months Marion was alive. After Marion was born, Veronica was evicted from her home and moved into Rat-Boy’s, which, according to Emilio, was “filthy, messy, and there’s poop everywhere; the kids [are] literally filthy and literally roll in dog poop at his house.”

The Montoya family contacted CPS several times with concerns about injuries Marion suffered while in her mother’s custody. Emilio, who knew Rat-Boy since high school, was wary of leaving Marion with him because of his history. Rat-Boy spent 45 days in jail after pleading guilty to domestic assault, and he was arrested in March of 2018 after he left his own two kids unattended at home while he stepped out to get food. 

“I personally wouldn’t trust him with my daughter, and that’s just how I felt,” Emilio said. “It’s clear he never cared, and he didn’t want [Marion] to be there. He wanted her gone. He didn’t want her to be there at the house.”

Baby Marion Jester-Montoya
Marion less than a month before her death.

“This could have been prevented,” he told the reporter. “CPS should have done something. We even called three separate times, and we’ve had picture evidence, and nothing was ever done.”

At one point, a hospital visit revealed that Marion had methamphetamine in her system, after which Emilio was awarded temporary custody while CPS investigated the case. It was dismissed when they were unable to determine the source of the drugs. “They decided to close the case ‘cause everybody tested clean,” Emilio said. 

He made additional CPS calls for a severe, bloody diaper rash and a large bruise on Marion’s thigh, but nothing was done until after the baby’s death.

The last time Emilio saw his daughter was on January 4 when he dropped her off to Veronica at Rat-Boy’s house. “She did not want to go back,” he said. “She cried and ran from Trevor, screamed at the top of her lungs.” He said the baby crawled as fast as she could to him and clung to him as Veronica came to take her. “So we knew something was wrong. Why didn’t anybody listen to me before?”

Click here for my ongoing coverage of Marion’s case.

Baby Marion Jester-Montoya in a diaper
Rest in peace, little one.

Sources: East Texas Matters, Houston Public Media, Lubbock Online

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