A jury quickly reached a verdict in the federal kidnapping case that just began Tuesday against the man accused of abducting an 8-year-old girl in front of her mother in a Fort Worth neighborhood in May.
Early Wednesday afternoon, Michael Webb was found guilty of kidnapping in the May 18 abduction. The jury made their decision in less than 15 minutes.
U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox served as the lead prosecutor on the case, describing the verdict as "closure and consequence".
"Closure for the family and consequence for the defendant," Cox said. "I think this is every parent’s worst nightmare, to be with their child and have their child ripped from their arms. I think she’s [victim's mother] incredibly brave. I think the family as a whole has been brave in getting through this. I know today is important to them."
Webb still faces nine state charges of aggravated kidnapping, six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child (enhanced) and two counts of indecency with a child (habitual offender notice). When asked how Wednesday's verdict could affect the state charges, a spokesperson for the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office told us they were not unable to comment beyond the fact that their case is still pending.
The trial began with Webb telling the judge that he wanted new defense attorneys, saying he had "differences" with them. The judge disagreed, saying he saw nothing wrong with how the attorneys have represented him to this point.
When asked by the judge whether he wanted to wear his orange jail jumpsuit or plain clothes for the trial, Webb responded by saying, "actually, I don't want to be here."
Both his attorneys and the judge responded by explaining how being present for the trial would be beneficial for him. Ultimately, Webb opted to waive his right to be in the courtroom and will instead be kept in a holding cell in another part of the building.
The jury made up of six men and seven women, including an alternate, was selected by noon.
Opening statements began Tuesday afternoon.
Cox told the jury Tuesday was "a day of reckoning" for Michael Webb. A man, the government contends, planned an attack on a little girl he did not know and a man who had a "destructive power" over her for approximately eight hours.
Cox told jurors the prosecution would prove Webb abducted the 8-year-old, sexually assaulted her, including in a church parking lot, threatened and terrorized her into compliance and hid her from police.
Cox also told the jury Webb later admitted to the crime.
For the first time, the girl's mother recounted the moments before and after she said her daughter was abducted.
NBC 5 is not naming the woman so as to protect the girl's identity.
She testified that she and her daughter took a walk around the block barefoot that rain-soaked evening.
She said a strange car drove by and someone said something along the lines of, "Hey, come holler at me."
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She said she did not talk to the person.
The same car, she said, later returned.
The second time, she said the man got out of the car and approached the two.
The woman said she immediately became concerned about a kidnapping and tried to put herself in the middle of the man and her daughter.
The man, she said, asked her if she liked money.
She said yes, but that she didn't need any.
That's when she said Webb snatched the girl from her.
The two fought inside his car, but he pushed her out.
The woman became emotional at times while on the stand.
She heard her 911 call to police before her testimony ended.
Webb's defense attorneys did not have questions for the girl's mother.
Webb's defense attorney spent less than 30 seconds on his opening statement, only telling the jury his client is not guilty and that the burden of proof is on the government and it has not been met.
Webb pleaded not guilty. He faces up to life in prison.
Webb's attorneys said they wanted the case dismissed, arguing the search of his room, where police said he was found with the missing girl, was illegal because there was no probable cause to enter the room.
NBC 5's Tim Ciesco and Holley Ford contributed to this report.