Ennis man found guilty in death of son
By 03/29/2007 00:00:00
WXAHACHIE - Joseph David Horvath, 23, of Ennis was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison from the 2006 death of his baby son, Alexander.
An eight-man, four-woman jury took three hours on Thursday and then returned Friday, March 23 to hand down the verdict.
The prosecutors on the case had not sought the death penalty and this was why the life sentence was handed down by 40th District Court Judge Gene Knize. The jurors had the option of finding Horvath guilty of lesser charges of murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide but decided against these options possibly based on what prosecutor Don Maxwell said during closing arguments.
'It would diminish the memory of Alexander to find Joseph guilty of anything other than capital murder and the memory of a little baby,' said Maxwell. Defense attorney Jim Jenkins argued Horvath did not intentionally commit the crime but said Horvath admitted the baby died under his care.
'This is not an excuse for killing a baby but it is a factor in the case,' said Jenkins.
Jenkins went on to point out the problems single parents have raising a baby alone and the financial pressure this 22-year-old had along with no one willing to help him (Horvath) even when he asked.
Maxfield held up photographs of little Alexander and asked the jury to remember him when they made their decision.
Alexander was originally removed from Horvath and the mother a few days after his birth but after a court hearing in May it was determined he should be placed in the care of Horvath and Horvath's mother.
The jury sent out several requests to Knize and requested to view the videotaped statement made by Horvath to Ennis police detective Sgt. John Erisman before making their final decision to convict.