Abilene teen to serve remainder of 40-year sentence -- for killing 4-year-old sister -- in adult prison

A court hearing for an Abilene teen accused of murdering his 4-year-old sister began during September 2012. In 2007, Paris Bennett, who was 13 years old at the time, admitted to stabbing his sister, Ella Smith.

ABILENE, Texas - An Abilene teen who admitted to murdering his 4-year-old sister will serve the remainder of his 40-year sentence in an adult prison.

A hearing was held at the Taylor County Courthouse this week to make the determination.

In August 2007, Paris Lee Bennett, who was 13 at the time, admitted to stabbing his sister, Ella Lee Bennett, in February of that year. Bennett is now 18 years old.

He was sentenced to 40 years in state custody and has been held in a Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility in Giddings, Texas. Bennett will turn 19 in October and the juvenile facility cannot hold offenders past that age.

Bennett began his transfer hearing Tuesday to determine whether he would be moved from the juvenile facility to a prison under the Texas Department of Corrections.

Judge Robert Harper ordered a closed hearing due to psychological testimony given about Bennett. Wednesday afternoon, Harper ruled Bennett will serve out the rest of his sentence in prison.

Bennett will be eligible for parole after serving half of his time. Since he has been in state custody since February 2007, Bennett has built up credit for the time served in the juvenile system.

Assistant District Attorney Harriett Haag said she is pleased with the ruling.

"I'm glad it's over. It was a tragedy. It was a terrible loss of a beautiful little girl and a destruction of a family," she said. "It's a true tragedy and I'm glad my part of it is over with," Haag said.

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