Man found guilty of kidnapping 8-year-old Fort Worth girl
FORT WORTH, Texas - It took a jury less than 15 minutes to come back with a unanimous guilty verdict for a man who kidnapped an 8-year-old Fort Worth girl from her mother back in May, setting off an Amber Alert.
Michael Webb, 51, was found guilty on federal kidnapping charges. During Wednesday's testimony, video of Webb's FBI interview showed how many times his story changed.
Jury members left court Wednesday afternoon after finding Webb guilty in less than 15 minutes of deliberations..
"We're very thankful to this jury for giving us the decision we think this defendant is owed," U.S. Attorney Erin Neely Cox said.
He could be sentenced to anywhere between 20 years behind bars and life in prison. The government wants the maximum. The sentencing date has not yet been set.
The trial began on Tuesday, and Webb waived his right to attend his own trial. He sat in a court holding cell after telling the judge: “I don't want to be here."
Webb's defense attorneys declined to comment after the jury unanimously decided he was guilty of snatching an 8-year old girl who was walking with her mother in a Fort Worth neighborhood back in May.
The U.S. Attorney's team presented video evidence that included the doorbell cam that captured the final seconds of the kidnapping, along with clips from Webb's video recorded confession.
During the three-and-a-half hour session, attorneys pointed out that he rambled and changed his story about why he grabbed the girl, at one point saying someone offered him money to do it.
He also gave investigators graphic details about how he sexually assaulted the child at a Forest Hill motel, and then hid her from the first officers who searched the room.
"I had a basket of dirty clothes. I told her to get in the bottom of the basket and I put the clothes back on top of her," Webb said during his confession.
"The case wasn't about sexual assault, it was about kidnapping. But one of the elements of the crime is we had to prove the defendant had a purpose for the kidnapping, and that was the purpose, unfortunately," Neely Cox said.
In a case full of disturbing testimony, Neely Cox also spoke about her first witness, the girl's mother.
"We thought it was important for the jury to hear from the mother because I think this is every parent's worst nightmare to be with their child and have their child ripped from their arms," she said.
The young girl's family had 20 or more people in court to support them.