Life in prison for Roderick Fountain, dad convicted in 3-year-old son's murder


Jurors got the case and began deliberating at around 3:15pm Thursday. A verdict was returned just over three hours later. The state had asked for a life sentence, while the defense was asking for 28 years.

Testimony in the punishment phase got underway Thursday morning and it did not portray Fountain as a good person.

He returned to court today convicted of killing his son; this time, to hear his punishment.

As it turns out, Fountain was no stranger to the law. Evidence introduced today included past drug convictions in Louisiana, a robbery conviction in California, and a stay in federal prison for gun possession in violation of his parole. But the focus was a crime of which he was accused, but never convicted yet

Nine years ago in pre-Katrina New Orleans, a 16-year-old was found murdered. On the stand today was former New Orleans Police Department Detective Wayne Farb who arrested Fountain for the killing. Farb said the witness who was going to testify against Fountain recanted and the charge was dropped.

That was followed by testimony from Kim Carter, the mother of one of Fountain's children, who said he told her he killed the teenager. But she never told anyone about it. The judge allowed the testimony.

It was the first time Farb has seen Fountain since he arrested him years ago. He was not surprised he said to hear Fountain was convicted of a murder here in Houston.

"I believe that once a person commits a crime of that nature, it's always possible to commit a crime again," Det. Farb said.

For one of its witnesses, the defense put one of Fountain's estimated nine to 12 children on the stand. The 14-year-old boy told the jury Fountain was a good father and provided for him, but prosecutors produced a letter he wrote to his father in prison.

    Prosecutor: You want to be like him?
    Son: Yes.
    Prosecutor: You want to be like him in the pimp way?
    Son: Yes.

Fountain could be sentenced to up to life in prison. He has said he was doing laundry when his son disappeared from their southwest Houston apartment. Authorities, however, allege the child was fatally beaten and his body dropped from a Louisiana boat ramp.

Defense attorneys challenged the assertion that the child was dead. However, two jailhouse informants testified that Fountain, who was imprisoned on a federal weapons charge, admitted the killing to them.

Fountain's life sentence will have to be served after he completes a 13-year sentence for the federal parole violation.

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