After granting parole in late September to a Parker County man who had pleaded guilty to causing the death of his 1-month-old son in 2010, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has reversed its decision.
Parker County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain announced Friday that John Paul Webb will remain in prison until at least October 2017, when he becomes eligible for another parole hearing.
“At that time, the parole board will again decide his fate,” Swain said in a statement. “However, unlike the initial determination, this time they will have a good sentiment of how the victim’s mother, law enforcement and the Parker County community feel about his release.”
Parole board records show that the board granted parole Sept. 27 to Webb, 41, who pleaded guilty in 2013 to a charge of serious bodily injury to a child in the death of Christian Webb, who was 32 days old. Webb was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
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Parker County authorities were recently notified that Webb was scheduled for release in December to a transitional program, and Swain began his effort to get parole board members to change their minds.
“I understand that the parole board has to make difficult decisions,” Swain said at the time. “But their choice to release an offender who caused the death of an infant just doesn’t make sense to me.
“We are going to work with our victim’s mother to gather more information to send to the parole board to see if we can [persuade] them to change their mind. Hopefully, we can get this decision reversed.”
Swain invited people to submit comments to the district attorney’s office to be forwarded to board members.
He said the office received more than 50 letters and emails from people asking the board to keep Webb in prison for as long as possible in light of the circumstances of the case.
“We appreciate the community stepping up to help us do justice in this case and the parole board for their willingness to reconsider their decision,” Swain said in the statement Friday.
At the time of the infant’s death, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office ruled that Christian died of complications related to severe blunt force head trauma and Webb was initially charged with capital murder.
Webb pleaded guilty to a second-degree-felony charge of injury to a child in an agreement with prosecutors. At the time, prosecutor Robert DuBoise referred to the case as “challenging.”
“While we believe that John Webb was responsible for causing the child’s death, to have proven the murder case we would have had to prove that John intended to kill his son,” DuBoise said in 2010. “Given the confusing state of the evidence, doing so to beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard was going to be difficult.”
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.