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Trial date set for daughter in Sartin’s Seafood founder’s killing

A Sabine Pass woman accused of killing a well-know restaurateur has a trial date nearly two years after the brutal slaying.

Kelli Diedre Sartin, 55, will go to trial Sept. 27 before Judge John Stevens in the Criminal District Court, according to Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Cory Kneeland.

Sartin is charged with killing her father, 81-year-old the Charles Sartin.

The accused is represented by attorney Tom Burbank, who did not respond to calls for comment by press time.

The near two-year delay in trial is due to the pandemic, District Attorney Bob Wortham said, adding that the virus has made it difficult to secure juries and bring in witnesses.

Kelli Diedre Sartin

The death

At about 4:19 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2019, the Port Arthur Police Department received a call asking for officers to check a home in the 5000 block of Tremont Street in Sabine. The caller told police Kelli Sartin, then 53, had made alarming statements about Charles Sartin’s welfare.

When police arrived, Kelli said her father had killed himself using a metal spatula and a wooden rolling pin four days prior, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Inside the home the victim’s body was found in a bedroom, wrapped in bedding and a tarp. The daughter said she thoroughly cleaned the home with bleach and taped the bedroom door shut.

Kneeland previously told Port Arthur Newsmedia it is believed the victim had been dead for days before police arrived.

The victim’s body had apparent wounds on the head and upper torso that appeared consistent with blunt force.

Kelli later made a statement to police about her father’s death before being jailed on a murder charge.

The Sartin family is known to many for the seafood restaurant they once owned. Charles Sartin and wife Jerri, now deceased, opened Sartin’s Seafood in 1971. It closed in 1988 after storm damage.

Kelli Sartin remains in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on a $1 million bond.

Kneeland said Sartin is not under a mental health hold.

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