Posted For: Bubbles Brazelton
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man prosecutors said beat his pregnant girlfriend to the point she lost her baby will not serve any jail time.
Johnny Charles Ebbs V accepted a plea deal with eight years of deferred adjudication on a third-degree continuous family violence assault charge.
According to a Texas attorney’s website, deferred adjudication is when a person pleads guilty or no contest to a charge, and there is no finding of guilt at the time of sentencing. The court puts that person on community supervision, or probation, for a stretch of time, and if the probation is completed, then the original offense is dismissed. But if the person has their probation revoked or violates probation, they could face up to the full punishment of the original charge.
According to an arrest warrant, Ebbs assaulted his pregnant girlfriend, LaShonda Lemons, during a verbal fight in 2019. The warrant said Ebbs punched her in the stomach and screamed “F— you and this baby! You aren’t going anywhere!”
Lemons said she went to the hospital three days later and was told the baby died. A doctor indicated that “placenta abruption” was present, which means the placenta was detached from the womb, according to the affidavit. This can be caused by blunt force trauma.
Lemons spoke directly to Ebbs in court Monday during her victim impact statement.
“You were the first person to hold me at gunpoint. The first person to strangle me,” Lemons said.
Lemons’ attorney, Kelsey McKay, said Ebbs was required by both his bond and an agreed-upon protective order to forfeit his guns. But still, to this day McKay said that never happened.
“We have firearm surrender laws. We have domestic violence laws. But if there’s not enforcement and implementation of those laws, they’re relatively useless,” McKay said.
As part of the plea deal, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office required Ebbs to swear in court he doesn’t have any guns and won’t live in a house with them in it.
McKay said based on the terms of the agreement, Ebbs will end up not serving any jail time and will wear a GPS monitor for six months.
Despite multiple requests, suggestions, and outright demands, to this day, there has not been any meaningful enforcement or efforts made to physically secure the perpetrator’s firearms as required by law. Ms. Lemons already lost her child, she should not have to continue to be forced to risk her life.”
KELSEY MCKAY, ATTORNEY FOR MS. LEMONS
It’s a decision domestic abuse advocate Coni Huntsman Stogner said does not serve justice.
“Very concerned that the sentencing does not result in safety for the survivor and the community,” Stogner said.
The SAFE Alliance also came out with a statement expressing their frustrations with the outcome.
What is clear is that there is work to be done. We are grateful to Ms. Lemons for her powerful example and hope that the community receives the message that we stand with survivors. We will persist in this work to better serve and protect people who experience violence and abuse.”
KXAN reached out to the DA’s office about Lemons’ opposition to the sentence, reasoning for the sentence level and what it knows about Ebbs’ firearms. It responded: “Additional evidence gathered through the course of the investigation made clear that the facts do not support the initial allegation.”