Local Man Sentenced for Murder of 7-Year-Old


Judges Gavel | Image by photobyphotoboy/Shutterstock

A Denton man was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering his girlfriend’s 7-year-old son in April 2022.

Todd Lofton Shaw was sentenced to life in prison on Friday and will not be eligible for parole. The state elected not to pursue the death penalty in Shaw’s case, per The Denton Record-Chronicle.

Shaw was arrested in April 2022 for injury to a child after Phoenix Ho was taken to the hospital with what first responders described as “suspicious and extensive injuries,” per Fox 4 News. The boy later died at the hospital, and Shaw was additionally charged with capital murder.

Court records show the injury to a child charge was dropped upon the state’s request, per The Denton Record-Chronicle.

An arrest report detailed some of the injuries the 7-year-old suffered. Ho had numerous abrasions and bruising on his face, bruises across his body, a swollen neck, a burn on his shoulder, puncture wounds, and other injuries, per CBS News.

Four days after Phoenix’s death, his mother, Sabrina Ann Ho, was taken into custody and also charged with capital murder, per The Denton Record-Chronicle. She still faces a charge of injury to a child.

The arrest report indicates that Sabrina apparently knew Shaw was abusing her son. Ho purportedly did not seek out medical treatment due to a fear of “getting into trouble,” as reported by CBS News.

Ho allegedly told detectives that she kept her son out of school for three weeks to conceal his injuries. An affidavit for Ho’s arrest alleges she was initially untruthful about her involvement in Phoenix’s death when interviewed by detectives, per The Denton Record-Chronicle.

The affidavit claims Ho originally said that Shaw and her son were in her bedroom when the incident occurred, and she had heard a loud thud before entering the room to find Phoenix unconscious. But Ho apparently told a different story after the incident, per The Denton Record-Chronicle.

In the second version of the story, Ho reportedly said that she was in her bedroom when Shaw called her into the hallway, telling her something was wrong with her son. When she came into the hall, Ho claimed, she found Phoenix on the floor, having trouble breathing, with his eyes rolled back into his head.

She later reportedly said that Shaw “constructed a box to place over the victim’s head to muffle the breathing as it became louder and louder,” per CBS News.

Ho allegedly waited five hours before making a call to 911, which she reportedly explained was because she was concerned that she would get in trouble. She allegedly told investigators that she thinks her son would be alive had she called sooner and admitted that she and her son had ample time to get away from Shaw in the weeks leading up to Phoenix’s death, per The Denton Record-Chronicle.

“We do see a lot of crime every day. But this is a child, a 7-year-old child who couldn’t defend himself,” said Deputy Chief Frank Padgett in April, per The Dallas Morning News. “We want to be his voice.”

Ho is currently being held in Denton County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Shaw’s sentencing comes on the heels of a crime-filled February for the metroplex. Dallas has seen 18 cases of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter. Year-to-date, there has been a 10% increase in such crimes compared to the same period in 2022, and rising crime rates continue to be a problem.

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27 days ago

Anyone who murders a helpless child doesn’t deserve one night of peace for the rest of their natural life!! The mother who knowingly allows her child to be abused by her boyfriend or husband is as guilty as they are and shouldn’t have any peace as well! 🤬

25 days ago

Why aren’t there photos of this child-abusing murderer posted in this article?