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By Jack Douglas Jr. | Senior Investigative Producer CBS11 |
WEATHERFORD (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas state parole board on Tuesday defended its early release of a convicted child killer who was arrested last weekend on a sexual assault charge.
State officials noted that John Robert Morton served 32 years in prison – less than a third of his 99-year conviction for the torture and killing of a 3-year-old boy.
In a statement to CBS 11’s I-Team, the Board of Pardons and Paroles said Morton, 52, was denied freedom repeatedly since becoming eligible for parole in March 1990. But the board approved his release from prison in April 2015 after hearing that he had completed several “treatment” programs that the statement said was meant to “enhance (his) chances to obtain and maintain full-time stable employment…
But the Parker County Sheriff’s Department said Morton ran afoul of the law again on Saturday night when a woman said he sexually assaulted her.
He was subsequently charged with sexual assault, a second-degree felony, and booked into the Parker County Jail. Morton was convicted, and given the maximum 99-year prison sentence, for the 1983 killing of Charles Christopher Burns, the toddler son of his then-girlfriend.
The sheriff’s department said in a statement that the child died from a massive blow to the head.
Before he died, the boy also sustained 17 bite marks – one inflicted in a “sadistic” way to maximize pain – and he had multiple bruises, the statement said.
It added that the parole board approved Morton’s release in 2015, despite former Parker County DA Amy Adams arguing he should remain locked up “based on the brutality and obvious suffering of the child …society demands protection from this man.”
Reached by the I-Team this week, Adams declined to comment for this story.
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