Memphis – On Thursday, June 7, 2012 a Hall County Jury found Robert Monroe Babcock guilty of Capital Murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Babcock was indicted by a Donley County Grand Jury on June 29, 2011.
Luke Inman, the District Attorney for the 100th Judicial District, prosecuted the case for the State of Texas with the Honorable Judge Stuart Messer presiding.
“Chance’s smile! No one could forget Chance’s smile.” said 100th Judicial District Attorney Luke Inman. “Everyone that knew Chance, met Chance, took care of Chance or loved Chance, that’s what they remembered most.”
An elated, but exhausted, audience in the Hall County Courthouse exclaimed at the jury’s finding of guilt on the charged offense of Capital Murder against Robert Monroe Babcock.
The State’s evidence over a four-day period detailed the gruesome death that Chance Mark Jones endured over the Christmas holiday of 2010.
During the time of joy and rejoice of Christmas that most kids enjoy, Chance suffered the most unthinkable human torture a person could ever endure, the severe beating by his own biological father.
Chance began living with the Defendant, Robert Monroe Babcock, in the early part of December of 2010.
Taken from an abusive mother, Child Protective Services was part of the placement of a child with his biological father that had recently been informed of his son.
The department didn’t have any concerns about the Defendant initially, according to former CPS caseworker Shane Lance during testimony on Wednesday.
The trial began on Wednesday, May 30th with voir dire after the venue had been changed to Hall County, one of five counties in the 100th Judicial District.
After a jury was seated, a five-day trial ensued where the jury found Babcock guilty of the charged offense of capital murder.
The State’s case began with the testimony of Sheriff Charles “Butch” Blackburn who provided insight on the initial part of this investigation.
“I knew that we were dealing with a serious offense against this boy and we did everything we could to get this Defendant in custody, said Blackburn. “The boy looked as if he had been beaten to death and determining who had done this was the most important thing my office was focused on.”
Once a statement was made, the Donley County Sheriff’s Office elicited the help of the Texas Rangers Division Ranger Jaime Downs and Jay Foster to assist in the evidence collection.
A wall segment was taken from Babcock’s home where Chance’s head had been slammed into, according to evidence presented at trial.
The hole segment verified where Babcock admitted to shoving Chance through on the early morning of Jan. 4, 2011.
Doctor Kenneth Letich from West Texas A&M University testified on Friday that moderate force was required to break this plastic laminated drywall located in the Defendant’s home.
Before this incident, evidence stated that Babcock had punched Chance repeatedly in the head with his fists on January 3. After Chance’s head was slammed in the wall, another series of assaults took place on Chance’s head before he became unresponsive on Jan. 4.
“Things happened to him that should have never happened to him,” echoed in the court room walls while playing Babcock’s statement.
Chance was beaten over an eleven-day period, according to evidence produced at trial, resulting in a horrific death of complications of blunt force trauma to the head of Chance.
Chance appeared fine when he left Paula’s Daycare on Dec. 22, testimony demonstrated.
On Dec. 29, Chance had a knot on his head and bruising to both eyes that the Defendant claimed occurred when Chance ran into a table.
After Dec. 30, Babcock secluded Chance to the confines of his own home.
Several days later, Chance was rushed by Clarendon EMS to the helicopter pad in Clarendon and then flown to Northwest Texas Hospital where he underwent emergency craniotomy surgery.
“In my ten years as a SANE nurse at NWTH, these injuries I observed on Chance were the most severe I’ve ever seen,” said Danielle Livermore, a sexual assault nurse examiner with NWTH.
Chance had extensive blunt force trauma to his head, his abdomen, and his genitals, according to testimony over the course of the trial.
Chance appeared as if he had been in a car wreck, according to Blaine Burton’s testimony with Clarendon EMS.
Chance suffered not only severe head trauma, but a distended abdomen that resulted in significant injuries as testified to by Dr. Thomas Parsons, the forensic pathologist.
This story of extreme abuse by the hands of Babcock covered four days of testimony by State’s witnesses that all concurred with extreme bruising and contusions all over Chance’s body.
“Chance was beaten to death by his father,” said Inman during close. “He was beaten because the defendant said Chance lied to him, he lied all the time.”
Chance’s picture of a Christmas time experience peered at the jury, and the audience, as the State made its case against this defendant.
Chance appeared excited while holding his new toy of a Hot Wheels set that he received for Christmas.
Chance was born on April 11, 2006 and died due to complications of blunt force trauma to the head on Jan. 5, 2011.
“This is the first step in bringing justice to the responsible party for Chance’s death,” said Inman. “Although this first step was accomplished, the State is not done in prosecuting other culpable parties.”
Gayle Edes, the biological paternal grandmother of Chance is currently under indictment for the first degree felony offense of injury to a child by omission.