A Texas woman who was 14 when she intentionally drowned a 2-month-old baby girl was paroled less than four years after she was sentenced to juvenile detention for the 2015 murder.
The Dallas Morning News reported that the unnamed 19-year-old had been in juvenile lockup since drowning Justice Hull in January 2015. In May 2015, District Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon sentenced the then-15-year-old to 40 years for the capital murder.
Child Protective Services took the newborn from her mother’s care shortly after birth and placed her with a close family friend at the mother’s request, according to USA Today. At the time of the murder, the baby’s biological mother, Clarica Hull, 24, was serving a 112-day sentence for a probation violation stemming from a previous felony theft charge.
Although multiple reports suggest that family members were interested in caring for the child, it is unclear if any relatives were in a position to provide full-time support for the baby. Reportedly feeling the infant was a “burden,” the teen placed Justice’s face in a bowl of water, drowning her.
Documents obtained by KTVT indicate that CPS was contacted 11 times regarding Clarica in the 28 months Justice was alive. Most of the reports concerned Clarica’s alleged medical neglect of Justice and her other children. However, the teen’s mother contacted the agency after a month of caring for Justice, claiming she couldn’t care for the infant as her 19-year-old daughter was returning to school and couldn’t babysit.
CPS reportedly referred her to Child Care Management Services (CCMS). However, the teen’s mother contacted CPS again 10 days later to inform them that CCMS placed her on a waiting list. CPS said Justice would be placed into foster care, leading the teen’s mother to say she’ll keep her and seek financial assistance from family. The woman’s 14-year-old daughter would kill Justice 16 days after that call, according to the news station.
Shortly before her 19th birthday this month, Shannon followed the Texas Department of Juvenile Justice’s recommendation and allowed the teen to serve the remaining 36-year sentence on parole.
The news outlet noted that Shannon was also the judge who decided that the capital murder case would be tried in a juvenile court instead of adult court. At the time, Shannon said the teen would have more access to counseling and other resources if she remained in the juvenile court system.
Shannon claimed she gave the 19-year-old parole based on a psychiatric report which indicated that the teen felt remorse and guilt for killing the infant. The report stated that the teen was initially quiet during group meetings because she was ashamed of her actions.
Shannon recommended the family continue counseling, though the 19-year-old isn’t required to do so. The Morning News reported that the teen and her mother had attended counseling together once a week for several years.
The teen will live with her mother upon her release.
[Featured image: Justice Hull/KTVT]