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  1. Man, 20, sentenced to 40 years for death of fiancee's 2-year-old son
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  3. mjmcdonald@star-telegram.com (Melody McDonald)
  4. Published: Mar 25, 2011 10:40 PM
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  6. Photo 1 of 1
  7. FORT WORTH -- A 20-year-old convicted sex offender is headed back to prison for fatally injuring his fiancee's 2-year-old son last year.
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  9. Ryan Durham, who was initially charged with capital murder in the death of Robert Philbin, reached a deal with prosecutors Thursday and received a 40-year sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to the lesser charge of serious bodily injury to a child. If he had gone to trial and been convicted, Durham could have been sentenced to life without parole.
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  11. He has to serve at least half his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
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  13. "This type of crime is always difficult to understand, but it is our hope that Robert's family has some closure and this is one step toward healing," prosecutor Alana Minton said.
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  15. Officials have said Durham had been caring for Robert on Feb. 10, 2010, while the child's mother and stepgrandfather were at work. At some point, Durham phoned the mother and stepgrandfather and also called 911 after the child "started breathing heavily" and became worse. The child was taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, where he died the next day.
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  17. Durham initially told investigators that he heard the child fall twice from a toilet inside their home in the 3900 block of Spencer Street in north Fort Worth, but the boy's injuries were not consistent with that story. The Tarrant County medical examiner later ruled that Robert died from a blunt-force head injury and ruled his death a homicide.
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  19. Durham was a paroled sex offender who had been sentenced to four years' incarceration in September 2003 for indecency with a 7-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.
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  21. Melody McDonald, 817-390-7386
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