HOUSTON -- There is a new twist to the stalking case we’ve been following for years involving suspect Dieter Heinz Werner.
Police said using GPS devices he installed on his ex-girlfriend’s car, he always knew where she was. He also sliced her tires. Werner allegedly wanted the relationship to continue.
In 2011, Werner was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and the female victim and victim rights advocate Andy Kahan were ecstatic.
“That's the maximum you can get on a third degree felony,” Kahan said. “You can’t go any higher than that.”
But, then the unthinkable happened. Werner was released on parole before he was ever transferred to the Texas Department of Corrections.
“I am very angry,” the victim said. “I am frightened. My daughter is frightened because we don’t know what to expect.”
The victim doesn't want to be identified. She is still scared because Werner is still on the streets, although he has been forbidden to come into Harris County.
What upsets the victim is she was never notified about a parole hearing. She says she never had a chance to show up and fight to keep Werner locked up.
“So he never went to the penitentiary,” said Kahan.
“It just puts you right back into the same danger you had. This man was convicted of two 10-year sentences. Come on he served no time,” the victim said.
So what happened? The parole board says if the sentence is 10 years or less, a person can be paroled without ever going to prison. It's called "parole in absentia."
“Parole-in-absentia is a term I haven’t heard in 15-plus years,” Kahan told us.
It was a used a lot in the 80's when the state didn't have enough prisons, but now it is happening again. The state says approximately 250 people received “parole-in-absentia” last year.
“Make sure you are on the notification list, don’t assume anything. Unfortunately that's what happened in this particular case. She assumed she would be notified. She wasn't and as a result the board paroled him on his first shot,” Kahan said.
Many victims may have no idea the suspect never went to prison and is out on parole.