Above: Kaden Thornburg (Photo Courtesy of Moore County Sheriff’s Department)

A man convicted for his role in a Dumas teacher’s death was denied parole and won’t be eligible for reconsideration until later this year.


Texas Board of Pardons and Parole officials decided Kaden Thornburg wasn’t eligible for parole on Nov. 22, 2017, according to Texas Department of  Criminal Justice records. Thornburg was sentenced to 10 years in prison in August 2017 after he pleaded guilty to leaving an accident that caused serious bodily injury or death and failing to give information or render aid.

The circumstances that lead to Thornburg’s conviction began when Thornburg, then 19 years old and a DHS graduate, was arrested Aug. 11, 2016, for hitting Coach Ryne Erickson with his car earlier that morning at the intersection of 7th Street and Melinda Lane in Dumas. Thornburg drove away from the scene and abandoned his car in a nearby field, and Dumas police officers arrested him at an apartment located about a block from where the hit-and-run occurred.

Thornburg’s plea agreement called for a sentencing range from probation to 15 years in prison, an agreement Coach Erickson’s uncle, Don Haydon called offensive.

“When I heard probation was on the table, I couldn’t believe that an individual who did what he did could be considered for probation,” Haydon said in an interview with the Journal shortly before Thornburg’s sentencing. “I don’t see the probation option as one of being in synch with what I saw in the community after Ryne was killed. I saw a community in anguish, a student body deep, deep in grief. I couldn’t believe there was a chance Mr. Thornburg could get probation for what he did.”

Haydon spoke at Thornburg’s sentencing and told him he would be at his parole hearings to protest his release.

According to TDCJ records, the parole board cited several reasons for denying Thornburg’s parole.

“The record indicates the instant offense has elements of brutality, violence, assaultive behavior or conscious selection of victim’s vulnerability indicating a conscious disregard for the lives, safety or property of others, such that the offender poses a continued threat to public safety. The record indicates excessive substance use involvement,” the records show.

Thornburg won’t be eligible for parole consideration again until Nov. 20, 2018.