WEATHERFORD -- In an about-face, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles said Friday that a man held responsible for an infant's death will stay in jail.
John Paul Webb, 41, has served six years of a 20-year sentence for causing serious bodily injury to a child by omission. The child was his own infant son, Christian, who died.
Last month, the board approved Webb for release, but on Friday it reversed course.
"I was ecstatic," said Angelica Ahern, Christian's mother and Webb's ex-wife. "I don't feel like that's justice if he can get out and enjoy life when Christian's was taken away from him."
Webb was initially charged with murdering Christian, but he got a plea deal due to problems with the case. On Friday his attorney declined to comment on the Parole Board's reversal.
The board said it reached its new decision based on new information it had received.
"They only got the material about a week ago," said Jeff Swain, Asst. District Attorney for Parker County, who had urged the board to deny parole to Webb. He said the board was missing parts of an offense report, and also did not have pictures of the victim. The board also received a flood of letters from members of the community and from Ahern.
"Every one of those letters counts," said Ahern. "And coming from the victim, they want to see you care about this person being out of prison."
Swain credited media exposure and social media posts for energizing the Parker County community.
"They got the message that the community felt very strongly about it, that he should stay in prison for as long as possible," he said.
Ahern said she still constantly thinks of lost moments with her son, who would now be six years old.
"His first words. Him walking. His first day of kindergarten," she said. "The things that he's not going to get to experience."
Webb will be up for parole again next year in October and annually after that. Ahern is prepared to fight every year for him to serve out his full 20-year sentence.
"It's not going to bring Christian back, but it's a little bit of justice," she said.
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