Death penalty still on table for Athens man

Robert Eckert III
Robert Eckert III(Anderson County Jail)
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 3:35 PM CST

PALESTINE, Texas (KLTV) - The state is expected to come to a decision on pursuing the death penalty for an Athens man accused in a hostage situation which left a man dead in December of 2021.

Robert Mason Eckert III appeared in Judge Mark Calhoon’s court on Friday. During the hearing, it was decided he will return to court on March 27, and a decision on whether the death penalty will be pursued will be determined then.

Eckert is charged with capital murder in the death of Marco Matthew Gonzales, 38, whom Eckert allegedly shot multiple times. Eckert is also accused of taking multiple people hostage inside a home immediately following the shooting at a residence on County Road 309 in Anderson County.