Newton man released from prison after serving one year for murdering a baby


His own attorney predicted it, and now it has actually happened. A Newton man, sentenced to 8 years in state prison after being convicted of murdering a baby in Jasper, has been released after serving only 13 months.

On Wednesday, the Texas Board of Pardons & Parole approved the release of 27-year-old Justin Havard, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice records say that he was released from prison on Thursday.

Havard was convicted and sentenced in October of last year for the November 2013 death of his then girlfriend’s infant child, 3-month-old Rylan McDaniel.

At the time of his trial, Havard had already been sitting in the Jasper County Jail for 2 years and 11 months awaiting trial, and that time counts for any sentence that the jury imposes.

Prosecutors at the time said that the jury had a choice of giving Havard a sentence of 5 years to life.

After the 8 year sentence was handed down, his defense attorney, Ryan Gertz, noted that because Havard had already been jailed for nearly 3 years, and also considering that he would become eligible for parole after serving half of the 8 year sentence, in theory he could possibly be released in one year.

Gertz was right.

The investigation began on Friday, November 8th, 2013 at about 12:00 noon when police said that Havard, who was watching his girlfriend’s baby and her two other children, called 911 and told dispatchers that a baby was choking in Myrtis Village Apartments on Myrtis Street in Jasper.

Police said that detectives went to the emergency room and spoke to Havard, and they sensed something suspicious.

Meanwhile, the baby was later taken to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston where he died the following day, and an autopsy revealed that the baby died as the result of “blunt force trauma to the head”, and not as the result of choking.

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