Fort Worth Police Association Urges for Protest of Samuel Hilburn's Early Release

A drunk driver convicted of killing a Fort Worth police officer is once again up for parole.

Samuel Hilburn has served more than half of his 13-year prison sentence.

In December 2006, Hilburn slammed into Officer Dwayne Freeto's cruiser and killed him. Freeto was helping a woman with a flat tire on Interstate 35W.

"I can still hear the words he [another officer] told me over the phone. He said, 'Dwayne is gone. Dwayne was killed on the freeway,'" said Ofc. Anthony White.

White and Freeto graduated from the Fort Worth Police Academy together in 2006.

"It's hard to describe the feeling of losing one of your fellow officers in less than a year," White said. "Samuel Hilburn chose to drink and drive. He impacted so many lives in Fort Worth. The fact that he may only serve half of his sentence eats at me every day. I would like to see him be held accountable. I don't think serving a little more than half of a sentence is enough for killing a police officer in the line of duty."

Hilburn became eligible for parole last year. His request was denied. Hilburn's next review is scheduled for February 2016.

"This has a drastic and emotional toll on them [Freeto's family]," said Rick Van Houten, Fort Worth Police Officers Association president. "We have to stand up and speak for them. You need to think before you get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. You need to think about your choices," Van Houten said.

The FWPOA is urging the public to protest Hilburn's release by sending an email to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

If Hilburn serves his full sentence, he'll be released in July 2021. The maximum sentence for intoxication manslaughter during Hilburn's trial was 20 years in prison.

Texas lawmakers passed the Darren Medlin and Dwayne Freeto Act in 2007. The measure increased penalties for intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter.

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