Mom up for parole after less than 2 years behind bars

Abigail Young, the mother convicted in the death of her four-year-old daughter Emma Thompson, has been denied parole a second time and it will be several years now before she's eligible again.

March 19, 2012 4:25:37 PM PDT
It was a case that shocked the nation -- an innocent little girl sexually assaulted in a savage attack that killed her. While the man responsible is locked up for life, the victim's mother who failed to protect her is now up for parole.

Emma Thompson's grandmother is pushing to keep Emma's mother in prison. The grandmother fears she could hurt another child if set free.

Emma's 2009 death was horrific. She had more than 80 bruises and a fractured skull. Her mother's boyfriend, Lucas Coe, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the murder.

But a jury found Abigail Young guilty only of "reckless endangerment of a child by omission," sentencing her to 20 years in prison. Under Texas law, Emma's mother becomes eligible for parole after serving less than two years in prison for her role in the death.

Emma's grandmother Laurie Thompson said, "That's half of Emma's life, that's only half of Emma's life. It's really only 19 months of a 240-month sentence."

Emma's grandmother was in disbelief when she received a letter from the state alerting her to Young's parole eligibility. Attorneys initially told us Young wouldn't become eligible until she had served a quarter of her 20-year term. But the state's calculation of time she's served includes actual time and something called "good time" credits -- days shaved off her sentence for good behavior. The combination is making her eligible for parole now.

City of Houston Crime Victims' Advocate Andy Kahan said, "Not even two years into her 20 year sentence -- that's pretty stunning."

Emma's grandmother is now launching a letter writing campaign to convince the parole division that Abigail Young is a continuing threat to society.

She said, "In my mind's eye it certainly is a miscarriage of justice. It's a travesty. It's offensive, I think, to the whole judicial system."

Young refused our request to talk to her about why she should be released. Her attorneys did not return our calls.

If you'd like to write a letter on Thompson's behalf, you can contact the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. You'll need to include Abigail Young's name and TDCJ ID # 01668233. Send letters to: Review and Release Processing, TDCJ Parole Division, P.O. Box 13401, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711.