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February 20, 2013

Man charged with baby’s death accepts lesser charge

Webb pleads guilty to causing serious bodily injury to month-old son

By CHRISTIN COYNE

A Parker County man who officials say killed his infant son in October 2010 pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree felony injury to a child and received the maximum 20-year sentence.

John Paul Webb, 37, indicted on a capital murder charge in the case, pleaded guilty in 415th District Court to a charge of recklessly causing serious bodily injury to Christian Ray Webb.

On Oct. 11, 2010, the child’s mother, 24-year-old Angelica Joyce Ahern, called 911 from the family’s residence in the 500 block of Wood Hollow Drive and reported that her month-old son was non-responsive. The boy was transported to Cook Children Hospital’s in Fort Worth, where he died later that day due to blunt trauma to the head and brain. 

The boy’s injuries included a fractured skull and brain bleeding that caused his death, four broken ribs, a bruise above his eye, a torn upper lip frenulum, and anal tearing, according to Assistant District Attorney Robert DuBoise.

Experts found that there was clearly blunt force impact to his head, though that could have been one blow or two impacts on each side of the head, DuBoise said.

They believe the rib injuries occurred before his death, according to DuBoise.

Prosecutors still aren’t sure exactly how the incident occurred, though DuBoise said the case has all the earmarks of a case of a parent who became frustrated at a possibly fussy child.

When initially interviewed, Webb told investigators he fell asleep on the couch and woke because of barking dogs outside.

He reportedly said that when he went to investigate, someone struck him on the head, knocking him out.

Angelica Ahern and her then 3-year-old daughter both told investigators they did not hear noises during the night.

Her son was in the crib when she went to bed but was in bed next to her when she woke up, Ahern told investigators. When she began to change his diaper that morning, she reported finding him cold and unresponsive.

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