Howard County Assistant District Attorney Speaks About Edgar Whitt Plea Deal

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - There's outrage in Big Spring after a man accused of fathering a child with his own daughter cut a plea deal in his case.

NewsWest 9 sat down with the Howard County Assistant District Attorney to find out why the deal was even offered.

The details of this disturbing case first came to light earlier this year and but we're told it all came down to evidence. In this case, there just wasn't enough.

It's a case that's a first for Howard County Assistant D.A. Robin Orr.

"In our office we have lived with this case and we have looked through the reports and talked with the officers and watched the videos," Orr said.

Earlier this year, 54-year-old Edgar Whitt was indicted on four counts of indecency with a child and two counts of prohibited sexual conduct.

The charges came after police found a seven-year-old boy riding his bike along Highway 87.

He told them he was running away from home and that he'd once been put in a strait jacket.

From there, officials uncovered a disturbing case involving incest. Whitt had fathered a child with his own daughter, Tamara Whitt.

On Friday, Whitt accepted a plea bargain.

He plead guilty to one count of the incest charge for 10 years of prison time.

In exchange, the four counts of indecency with a child were dismissed.

"We determined that the case for indecency with a child probably did not have the quantum of relevant, persuasive evidence that we needed to get the case to a jury," Orr said. "We felt like there was a very strong possibility that the judge would not allow the case to go to the jury on legal grounds."

Orr says that if that scenario played out, the outcome would be different.

"He would've been put in jeopardy for it and then acquitted so that he could never be tried again on that offense," Orr said.

Tamara Whitt was charged with child endangerment but never indicted.

"We believed that the best way to proceed was to prosecute Mr. Whitt and not prosecute Tamara Whitt," Orr said.

NewsWest 9 spoke with Whitt's attorney, Trey Keith, out of Sweetwater. In a statement, he said "a 'bargain' means that both sides get something out of the deal. On the other hand, both sides give something up. In my experience, plea bargaining is an effective form of risk-management."

Keith also said "the case was fair and just considering all of the circumstances, including the available evidence. The defendant accepted responsibility for his criminal actions."

However he said Whitt strongly denies the allegations for indecency with a child.

Orr said the D.A.'s office devoted a lot of time and attention to this case with decades of combined experience. And despite the outcome, they felt it was the best choice.

"When people make their decision about whether justice was done, that's something they need to factor in," Orr said. "This is what we believed to be a reasonable result and that's why we went with it."

Whitt will have to serve at least a quarter of his sentence before he's eligible for parole. He will also have to register as a sex offender once he's released. Orr said the children involved in the case are under the control of Child Protective Services.