Family of murdered Jasper child speaks out

Source: Samantha McDaniel
Source: Samantha McDaniel
Published: Nov. 17, 2017 at 11:13 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2018 at 1:59 PM CST
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Justin Havard
Justin Havard

JASPER, TX (KTRE) - Samantha McDaniel remembered, vividly, the moment when she first found out that her ex-boyfriend, Justin Havard, would soon be getting out of prison.

<"I got a letter saying that they have agreed to release him and I literally cried from the moment I opened up the letter all the way through the next morning.">

Over a year ago, a Jasper County jury sentenced Havard, to eight years in prison for the death of McDaniel's, three-month-old son, Rylan, in November of 2013.

Havard got credit for time served for the three years that he was in prison with the possibility of probation, making him eligible for parole this year. And, it was granted.

McDaniel said that the weight of her son's death will never leave her, but Havard's release has only made that weight more hard to carry.

"I'm terrified because I go to Walmart and he can be in there," said McDaniel. "And, what I was told and suggested to do is, just for me, to turn around and leave."

McDaniel's issues with the way the case was handled go back to the very beginning.

"The trial itself, he never once got up there and even tried saying what he did," said McDaniel. "He never gave us a reason why he decided to do this."

In the last year, McDaniel said she doesn't feel alone in her situation and wishes other mothers would be more cautious, with who watches their children.

"Not to be as naive as me," said McDaniel. "I trusted someone with my children and this is the worst outcome that has happened. But, this seems to be happening as a daily thing."

McDaniel said that she and her family are not currently planning to challenge the decision that was made by the probation board.

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