The man found guilty of kidnapping an 8-year-old Fort Worth girl in front of her mother and later sexually assaulting the child will spend the rest of his life in prison.
A jury in September took less than 15 minutes to hand down a guilty verdict for Michael Webb in the May 18 abduction.
During sentencing Thursday, Webb, 51, received the maximum punishment of life in prison for the federal kidnapping conviction. The entire hearing Thursday, including a victim's impact statement from the kidnapped girl's father, wrapped up before noon.
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"I’m not sure any sentence could give this family or this victim any measure of comfort," U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox told reporters after the hearing. "But to the extent any could, I think a life sentence knowing that he could never be a danger to them or anyone else in this community, I hope that gives them a sense of comfort."
Webb was accused of snatching a young girl off the street in Fort Worth in May as she walked with her mother in the Ryan Place neighborhood. The girl's mother tried to prevent the abduction but was overpowered by Webb, police said.
After an hourslong search, which included an Amber Alert being issued at about 11 p.m., the girl was rescued shortly after midnight at a hotel in Forest Hill. Webb was arrested at the scene and has been in custody ever since.
Police had been called to the room twice after someone spotted him entering the hotel with a young girl. The first time Webb was visited by police, officers with the Forest Hill Police Department didn't see any sign of the girl.
During an interview with investigators, Webb admitted he hid the child in a basket of laundry.
"I told her if she said anything that I would do something to her parents and if I was in jail, I would have friends to do it," Webb told the investigators.
In court Thursday, no family members spoke for Webb during impact statements. However, the father of the victim shared a few words before Judge Reed O'Connor, telling him Webb's actions "forfeited him from the human race".
"If he [Webb] has to spend his days in a box until his final breaths, I suppose that will do," the victim's father said.
Webb's attorney John Stickney did not have a comment following the hearing, but he asked the judge to consider sentencing his client to 20 years given his age and the pending state case against him.
Judge O'Connor pointed to Webb's lengthy criminal history, adding he had been committing crimes since the age of 19. The facts of this case alone warranted a life sentence, O'Connor said.
"If he [Webb] is ever released, society is not equipped to deal with him," he said.
Nealy Cox confirmed parole is not an option for Webb, as it is not offered in the federal system. The Bureau of Prisons will ultimately determine where he is placed.
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).
A Tarrant County District Attorney's Office spokesman said Thursday their case was still pending but could not comment beyond that.