"I'm certainly no prosecutor and don't claim to be one, but let a jury decide. Let's not give these people probation," said Lynn Davis, president and chief executive of the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center.
"There are too many cases like this that, day after day, folks are getting away with abusing these poor, innocent children and nothing is being done about it," Davis told The Dallas Morning News for a story in Saturday's editions.
Telephone numbers for Hampton and Mabry were unlisted and The Associated Press could not reach them for comment Saturday.
Court records examined by the newspaper showed that the child suffered up to 40 rib fractures, bleeding in the brain and eyes, three leg fractures and other injuries before she died.
Dallas County state District Judge Lena Levario accepted the plea deal after special prosecutor Juan Sanchez advised that he could not prove either of the parents killed the girl, according to court records.
Sanchez told The AP on Saturday that there were no confessions, no incriminating statements and no conclusive forensic evidence to tie either Hampton or Mabry to the child's death.
"It was a very difficult decision. I had to decide do I want to lose this case, or do I want to have some court control over them," he said.
He said Mabry has been sentenced to 5 years of deferred adjudication. If Mabry violates the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison for life, Sanchez said. Hampton pleaded guilty to a lesser injury to a child charge and received 2 years of deferred adjudication.
Dallas defense attorney Russell Wilson told The News that some murder cases cannot be solved without a confession or incriminating statement.
"There are cases where the science can't give you a specific time period for death," said Wilson, who was not involved in the case. "When they aren't able to give you a specific time period, they are unable to give you a specific perpetrator. With an infant, there are usually multiple adults handling the child during a 24-hour period."
Hampton's three other children have been removed by Child Protective Services, Sanchez said. She has only supervised visitation rights, and the terms of her probation bans any contact between her and Mabry.
Levario appointed Sanchez as special prosecutor after the Dallas County District Attorney's Office asked to be removed from the case, citing a potential conflict of interest.
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