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Erdmann parole upheld

1997 Imprisoned former South Plains pathologist Ralph Erdmann received parole after a Friday decision.

A three-member panel in Angleton voted 2-1 to uphold its earlier decision to free the 70-year-old man. That first decision was put on hold earlier this week after the Board of Pardons and Parole received at least one protest.

Also Friday, the board put new conditions on Erdmann's parole that prohibit him from seeking or holding a medical license or from practicing medicine.

Erdmann
Erdmann pleaded no contest in 1992 to falsifying autopsies in Dickens, Hockley and Lubbock counties. He received 10 years of probation, moved to Washington state and violated a condition of his probation by keeping a cache of firearms. Erdmann was sentenced to simultaneous prison terms last year in three South Plains courtrooms.

Erdmann, who has amassed four years in time and credit on his 10-year term, will live in Travis County.

Jimmy Newman, upon whose brother Erdmann conducted a botched autopsy in 1991, said he was one of the protesters who briefly blocked the former doctor's parole.

"I don't believe justice was served on the man. The people and the families he hurt, it's just not right," Newman said. "He deserved worse than he got."

Erdmann dominated the news for a long streach in the 1990s. In 1992, a Hockley County grand jury indicted him on theft and tampering charges, igniting a firestorm of controversy and allegations.

The allegations forced Erdmann to resign as Lubbock County pathologist, and a number of other counties soon severed times with him. The allegations of botched autopsies affected a number of South Plains cases.

In September 1992, Erdmann pleaded no contest to seven felony offenses stemming from fraudulent autopsies, and he was ordered to pay $16,500 in restitution and sentenced to 10 years' probation.

Fallout from the Erdmann case reverberated across the area and swirled throughout the criminal justice system in West Texas for the next several years.

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