A Texas man accused of sending his pregnant girlfriend to the hospital with a beating so severe it killed her unborn child will not serve a day behind bars thanks to a Monday plea agreement with the Travis County District Attorney’s office.
Johnny Charles Ebbs V was allowed to accept a deal that comes with eight years of deferred adjudication on a third-degree continuous family violence assault charge, according to a report from KXAN, which explains that “deferred adjudication” refers to a case in which a person either pleads guilty or no contest to a charge, but, at the time of sentencing, no finding of guilt is made.
Assuming Ebbs doesn’t violate his probation, the charge will be dismissed. Should he violate the terms of his probation, he could face full punishment for the charge against him.
In 2019, Ebbs attacked his girlfriend, LaShonda Lemons, during an argument and, according to his arrest warrant, punched her in the stomach while screaming, “F**k you and this baby! You arent’s going anywhere!”
Three days later, Lemons went to the hospital, where a doctor told her there were signs of “placenta abruption” — a detaching of the placenta from the womb, which can occur with blunt force trauma — and her baby was dead.
During her victim’s impact statement, Lemons detailed the abuse she had endured.
“You were the first person to hold me at gunpoint,” she told Ebbs in court. “The first person to strangle me”
According to Lemons, her abuse at Ebbs’ hands started when she became pregnant, and, at 32 weeks into her pregnancy, the violence escalated.
“While we’re disappointed with the ultimate outcome, it was expected,” said Lemons’ attorney, Kelsey McKay, “and we hope it serves the better purpose of bringing attention and starting conversations about domestic violence.”
A good place to start that conversation would be with those tasked with enforcing the law.
Ebbs was required to forfeit his guns as part of both his bond and an agreed-upon protective order, but so far, according to McKay, that has yet to happen. But in court, as a requirement of his plea deal, Ebbs swore he currently has no guns and won’t be staying in a place where people do have guns.
“We have firearm surrender laws. We have domestic violence laws,” McKay said. “But if there’s not enforcement and implementation of those laws, they’re relatively useless.”
For his alleged crime, Ebbs will have to wear a GPS monitor for six months, an inconvenience that, according to domestic abuse advocate Coni Huntsman Stogner, offers no justice for Lemons.
“Very concerned that the sentencing does not result in safety for the survivor and the community,” Stogner said.
According to a statement from the DA’s office to KXAN, the shocking agreement came because “Additional evidence gathered through the course of the investigation made clear that the facts do not support the initial allegation.”
Perhaps, but online, disgust for the Travis County District Attorney’s office is palpable.
“Women don’t matter. Unborn babies don’t matter,” wrote one user on Twitter. “So sick of these plea deals.”
“Sounds like the DA failed again to deliver justice,” tweeted another.
And a third bluntly called for the removal of the DA.
“ATX better wake up and get rid of this piece of sh*t DA,” the user tweeted. “Another criminal is walking the street as after murdering a baby.”
Women don’t matter. Unborn babies don’t matter. So sick of these plea deals. https://t.co/moWbhsqkDz
— Blue Dog Printing (@bluedogprinting) October 18, 2022
Sounds like the DA failed again to deliver justice. https://t.co/cWpDodhrd2
— Midas Touchez (@MidasTouchez) October 18, 2022
ATX better wake up and get rid of this piece of shit DA. Another criminal is walking the street as after murdering a baby. https://t.co/nKMrxPNj1D
— Gnome (@just_stopit1) October 18, 2022
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