by Justin Kree
MIDLAND - It was on Chestnut Street in Midland back in March when the Garza family saw 28-year-old Christopher Howard across the street masturbating. The family's five year old daughter was playing with her toys and watching Howard doing the inappropriate act. Less than a month later, he was across the street fondling himself again.
"Christopher Howard popped out again between those two houses across the street with his pants down. Police found him again and took him to jail again," Witness/Father, Joe Garza, said.
After the second time, enough was enough for Garza. He grabbed his cell phone to get proof.
"I came and saw what he was doing. I said get the phone to get pictures and video of him for evidence," Garza said.
The pictures and video were too graphic for NewsWest 9 to show but they were enough for prosecutors to build a case against Howard.
"We kept talking to attorneys who said they were going to offer him a plea deal of 15 years. He didn't want to take the 15 years, he wanted to go to trial," Garza said.
It was at that point when attorneys told Garza the only option to get Howard behind bars for more then 15 years was to make their daughter testify. That was something the family didn't want to do at first because she was already going to therapy for what she saw.
"We thought that was already behind her, she already forgotten about it already. It was a roller coaster because we didn't want her to go through that again. She was having nightmares," Garza said.
After a long decision, the family decided they would go ahead and put the little girl on the stand. However, the day before trial, Howard took the plea deal.
"There was too much evidence against him. The attorney told us he took the 15 years. It's a blessing from God he's off the streets finally," Garza said.
Christmas will be a little more merry now that Howard will be locked up for a while. The family says their little girl is happy.