A Milam County man beaten two weeks ago in the head with a three-pound sledge hammer — the same tool investigators think later was used to kill his daughter and threaten his wife — remained hospitalized Monday in serious condition.

Preston “Pete” Solomon suffered serious injuries when his daughter’s ex-boyfriend, Ben Contreras, bludgeoned him and left him on the side of a road to die, authorities said.

Milam County Sheriff Charlie West said the investigation is nearing completion, but the earliest the case will go before a grand jury will be March 17.

“We are tying up some loose ends right now,” West said. “We are just lucky that we are working one murder instead of three. It could’ve easily gone that way.”

Authorities said Contreras, 41, drove to Preston Solomon’s home in Minerva and shot Solomon’s wife, Gail, in the chest. She was released from the hospital last week.

When police arrived at Solomon’s home, Contreras refused to come outside and said everyone inside — Solomon’s daughter, Stephanie Young, and her three small children — was fine. Contreras eventually surrendered, but police found Young dead inside a bedroom. The children were discovered unharmed.

Contreras remained jailed late Monday on a $400,000 bond.


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