Convicted killer out decades early, moved to Austin halfway house

DEL VALLE, TEXAS (KXAN) — A convicted killer from Houston will now call Central Texas home. Sentenced to 75 years in prison, David Port is getting out decades early because of an old law that hasn’t been on the books since the 80s. He’ll be living at the Austin Transitional Center in Del Valle.

Debora Sue Schatz was just 23 years old when she was murdered in 1984, leaving her family and community broken.

Before she passed away earlier this year, Schatz’s mother Barbara sat down with Houston NBC affiliate, KPRC.

“He took something precious from me, he did,” she said.

After serving less than half of his sentence, Port walked free on Thursday. Security at the halfway house where he’ll be staying has been questioned recently.

“I’ve left here before and all I had to do was walk out the door,” said one inmate KXAN spoke with last month.

In October, convicted sex offender Kevin Stoeser escaped after walking away from the facitily. He’s now on the U.S. Marshals top 15 most wanted list.

“And if they haven’t caught (Stoeser), something is definitely wrong over there,” Rubye Sampson, a neighbor of the facility, said last month. “The security’s not good.”

Port will be subjected to intensive parole supervision and have his location monitored 24 hours a day via GPS. He will also have a curfew.

A victim’s rights advocate is fighting to have Port listed as a sex offender. That way, he has to register where he’s living.

Supervisors at the Austin Transitional Center won’t comment on the matter at this time.

The old Texas law that led to Port’s freedom was designed to relieve prison overcrowding. Violent offenders convicted between 1977 and 1987 were allowed to shorten the time they spend in prison by earning so-called ‘good time.’ That let prisoners get three days of credit for every day of ‘good time’ served.

Texas abolished this law in 1995, but the U.S. Supreme court ruled the change in the law could not be retroactive. Sentencing laws now require criminals convicted of violent first-degree felony offenses to serve at least half of their sentences before being eligible for parole.

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