The man who killed a Fort Worth police officer last week was released from prison early and wasn’t sent back when he was arrested twice earlier this year -- even though he was on parole, according to Tarrant County court records.
Dasion Steptoe, 23, shot and killed Officer Garrett Hull following a robbery Thursday night, police said. Steptoe also died when officers returned fire.
A review of Steptoe’s criminal record show he got break after break.
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His first arrest came in 2012 for marijuana possession in a drug-free zone when he was 17 years old. He served one day in jail. He was later sentenced to 30 days in jail, but that sentence was deferred.
In 2013, he was convicted of burglary in Crowley after he stole items from a Walmart and ran into a nearby house, confronting the homeowner and stealing some of his clothing.
Steptoe was released after a month in jail and sentenced to five years’ probation.
In 2016, he was arrested for robbery after he hit another teenager and stole an item. Prosecutors agreed to a plea bargain, reducing the felony robbery charge to misdemeanor assault, according to court records.
Steptoe’s probation on the burglary charge was then revoked, and he was sentenced to four years in prison.
He was released in October 2017 after just 10 months.
Steptoe was ordered to be on supervised parole until November 2019.
But court records show Steptoe was arrested again in January on a marijuana possession charge and was released the same day.
Then, in April, police in Benbrook arrested him for giving a false name. He told officers he was nervous because he was on parole, according to a police report. He served one day in jail.
In June, Fort Worth police say Steptoe and two other men began a robbery spree targeting Latino bars. At least 15 were hit.
Last Thursday, after a robbery at Los Vaqueros bar on the southside, Steptoe shot Officer Garrett Hull in the head. Steptoe also was killed in the shootout.
Texas Department of Pardons and Parole spokesman Raymond Estrada said his office was never notified about Steptoe's arrests earlier this year and that Steptoe was supervised by another agency -- the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Steptoe only served 10 months of his four-year sentence because he was credited for earlier time served in Tarrant County, "good time" counts for time-and-a-half, and in addition, state inmates usually only serve half their sentences, Estrada said.
As for why the 2016 felony robbery charge was reduced to misdemeanor assault, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office issued a statement.
“Given the evidence in that case, we determined the best option was to secure a guilty plea that would revoke the burglary probation and ensure his incarceration – for which he then received a 4-year prison sentence,” the statement said. “Unfortunately that is not the amount of time he remained there.”
Steptoe's alleged accomplices also have extensive criminal histories. They also now face attempted capital murder charges in connection with the officer's death.