Tanner Lee Webb
  October 13, 2003 -
October 21, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial

Tanner Webb was born with a head full of strawberry blonde hair and his father's hazel eyes as well as his mother's button nose. Growing up between two homes, one belonging to his paternal grandmother, Shelly Hastings and one in the home of his maternal great aunt Brandie, both homes were good places where everything Tanner and his parents, a 15 and 16 year old, were provided with every they needed. Destinee Ashton Spann and Brian Charles Webb were said to be, good, loving parents who adored Tanner, though later, Destinee would say that Brian was in and out of Tanner's life. It was said that they were young and though they tried, they had no clue how to raise a child.

It was said that for the first two years of his life, Tanner was a happy, healthy normal little boy. Things began to change when in September of 2007, Destinee married a man named Russell Allen Miller and then they couple began to keep Tanner away from Brian and the paternal side of his family and without a custodial order, Destinee was able to keep Brian from seeing Tanner for the last four months of his short life. A custody hearing was set, however, Tanner would be gone before that hearing took place.

On October 21, 2006, Destinee says she fed Tanner breakfast and then around 11:00 a.m. she left for work. At some point during the day, Russell called 911 to say that his son was not breathing, he said he had been swinging him around and his head had hit the couch and he was now unresponsive. Russell made sure to tell the dispatcher that he didn't want anyone to think, by the way that Tanner looked, that he had been beaten up:

911 - 911 what is your emergency
Russell - Yes ma'am, um, me and my son were playing, I was swinging him and he hit his head on the couch. I don't want ya'll to think the wrong idea because he looks like crap. He looks like he just got beat.

While Russell tried to say that a game of "Airplane" had gone horribly wrong, an autopsy told another story, the truth about what had happened to Tanner that day. Over 43 injuries were found on Tanner's body as well as multiple sites of hemorrhaging on his head.

Tanner's grandmother Shelly Hastings said that he had been a silly boy, funny and nothing but boy through and through. He loved sports and the Texas Longhorns were his favorite team with many pictures showing him giving the Longhorns salute. Shelly said that Tanner was also stubborn, hard headed and had the temper of the Webb family. Tanner also loved music and would sing loudly, he loved his puppy Harley, they had grown up together, he loved Sponge Bob, was loving, caring, sweet, tender and very affectionate and he loved to eat.

Shelly said that Russell was not being charged with murder and instead was being charged with injury to a child. It was also said that Russell was not being charged with sexual abuse, though Shelly thought he should be and was worried that he would get out of prison some day and not have to register as a sex offender. Shelly said she was told that a charge of sexual abuse would "muddy the waters", she wasn't sure what that meant.

According to what Shelly says, murder and injury to a child carry the same penalty, but murder is considered an aggravated crime, however, if Russell is sentenced to 50 years in prison for injury to a child, he could only have to serve 1/4 of the time he is sentenced to as opposed to a murder charge meaning he would have to serve half of the sentence before parole would be considered.

Evidence suggests that Tanner was being abused in the home before the day he died and that Destinee knew about the abuse and did nothing. It was said that she had taken Tanner to the home of a friend at one point, showing that friend the bruises and hand prints that Russell had left on the body of Tanner at the age of only two years old. Destinee is said to have stayed away from their home for a week before going back.

Sadly, Tanner's grandmother and father were not quick enough when filing papers, though I am not sure why it took so long, I can only say that once again, there seems to be bad judgment in play and a child payed the price. Tanner's cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to his head and his death was listed as a homicide. Tanner had injuries extending from his face down to his feet and injuries to his genital that suggested he had been sexually abused, he was burned and injuries suggested that different weapons had been used on this little Angel. Tanners stomach was found to be empty which meant he had not eaten anything all day even though Destinee said she fed him.

In September of 2007, Russell Allen Miller was 23 years old when he plead guilty to using a deadly weapon to injure Tanner. Russell agreed to a plea deal where he would get 50 years in prison and be eligible for parole after 25 years.
Destinee agreed to this sentence, it was said she did that to avoid going to trial:

"That would have been difficult for her. We got a quick resolution"
District Attorney Jamie Beck

From the sound of things, it seems that Destinee wouldn't have wanted a trial because what could come out was her knowledge of what was going on with her son and she might face charges of her own. Shelly was upset that capital murder charges had not been filed as well as sexual assault charges:

"He's an absolute danger. To do what he did to that little boys body.
If he ever gets out on the street again, no one is going to be safe"

Prosecutors said they would not have been able to prove that Russell had intended to kill Tanner and that was a requirement for a capital murder charge and Jamie Beck said that they were not able to prove that Tanner had been sexually abused, the wounds on his genitals were not clearly linked to anything Russell had done.

Shelly said that Destinee should also be facing charges because she had to have known that the abuse was taking place:

"I'm not going to let her walk away unscathed. If they don't pursue her criminally,
I will file a civil suit"

Jamie Beck said there was not enough evidence to file charges against Destinee:

"We looked and we were willing to go there if evidence pointed us there,
but there's nothing there"

Shelly said that she and her family would fight to see that Russell didn't get parole:

"Everything Russell has for the rest of his life, parole hearing, court date,
whatever it is, we will all be there. I will see to it, if I have my way, he will
serve every one of those 50 years"

Thank you to Ana for sending me the story of Tanner Webb.

This page was created on February 24, 2015
Death Occurred in the state of Texas

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