Baby Faith's dad pleads guilty

Darrell Mason

Darrell Mason, 19, of Port Arthur, the father of abused infant Faith Mason, pleaded guilty to injury to a child Friday, Jan. 15, in relation to the injuries his daughter suffered in August 2013 in the weeks after her birth.

A one-month-old Baby Faith Mason was brought into the emergency room of St. Mary’s Hospital in Port Arthur on Aug. 18, 2013. The infant suffered from a severe brain bleed and numerous fractures that medical examiners determined had been dealt out over the weeks after she was brought home from the hospital as a newborn. Child Protective Services (CPS) representatives called it one of the worst cases of child abuse they had ever seen where the young victim did not perish.

Mason was only 17 when his cousin Christine Johnson, then 19, gave birth to their daughter, Faith. After the hospital alerted authorities to the abuse they observed while examining Baby Faith, both parents were arrested. Mason contended he was innocent, but a grand jury indicted him. Mason and Johnson were charged with two counts of serious bodily injury to a child, both first class felonies carrying possible sentences of 99 years in prison per offense. In each case, the second charge of injury by omission meant that even if they did not personally cause the injury, they did not prevent the other parent from doing so.

In September 2015, a jury found Christine Johnson guilty, convicting her of recklessly causing serious bodily injury after she admitted in a videotaped interview with a Port Arthur detective that she “got mad” when Faith Mason’s crying awoke her and she roughly snatched her from her bassinet, the action Dr. Reena Issac of Texas Children’s Hospital testified was what likely caused Baby Faith’s broken neck and brain bleed. She was sentenced to 65 years in prison.

Mason was to go to trial Jan. 19 on similar charges. Instead, he chose to make a deal. The state reportedly offered Mason a choice in exchange for a guilty plea: He could accept a 20-year sentence or go to the judge for punishment that could range from probation to a sentence capped at 25 years. Friday, Jan. 15, he pleaded guilty to charges of injury to a child in Judge John Stevens’ Criminal District Court in exchange for a sentence to be decided by the judge and capped at 25 years.

Sentencing has been set for Feb. 16.