Judge denies man early probation release in Lake Buchanan boating hit-and-run death


BURNET — A state district judge on July 14 denied a request for early release from probation by a man who pleaded guilty in a Lake Buchanan hit-and-run boating incident that left an 18-year-old man dead and two others injured. 

Travis Marburger entered the plea in January 2012 for failing to stop and render aid in a boat collision on Lake Buchanan about a decade earlier.

He was sentenced to 10 years’ probation and 100 days in county jail.

Marburger, who is now 43 years old, was back in court before 33rd/424th District Judge Alan Garrett on July 14 when his attorneys made a “motion for early termination of probation,” citing their client’s “good behavior.”

“Travis has been a model probationer. Ordinarily, I don’t file a motion for discharge that soon after a person has been put on probation. I usually wait until it’s three-fourths of the way,” said Chris Gunter, Marburger’s defense attorney. “He’s done such a good job (that) I thought it might be worth filing it a little bit early in this case.

“The judge disagreed,” Gunter added. “I’ve just advised Travis to continue doing his probation and doing good, and we can visit about it again in three or four years.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens — the lead investigators in the case — stated that justice would be served if Marburger was ordered to adhere to the remaining time.

“We support and applaud the court’s decision to continue to hold Mr. Marburger accountable for his actions,” TPWD spokesman Steve Lightfoot said. “The amount of hard work that went into making this case by our dedicated game warden should not go unnoticed, so the judge’s decision validates their effort.”

Ultimately, the judge denied the request. Marburger finished his jail term in May, according to Burnet County Jail records.

The boating collision, which resulted in the death of 18-year-old Justin Roberts and the injuries of two others, occurred in 2002 on Lake Buchanan.

Law enforcement sought a suspect but had no luck until nearly a decade later when investigators received a tip about a boat buried on a property just outside Bertram.

After excavating part of the property in the 9600 block of CR 272, authorities discovered a bass boat and uncovered evidence that linked it to the hit-and-run, according to the report. Marburger owned the property on which the boat was discovered.

Marburger was eventually indicted on a manslaughter charge, but he pleaded guilty to failure to render assistance and received his current probation sentence.

Marburger has five more years left on his term of probation.


7 thoughts on “Judge denies man early probation release in Lake Buchanan boating hit-and-run death

  1. Wow, probation. You get more time for stealing a 6 pack from the store. Kill someone, flee the scene, Destroy & hide evidence and all you get is probation.
    Let’s us all know what the morals of the state are.

    1. I totally agree with your statement. He should have served time for the life lost and then covering up the fact he committed the crime by burying the boat for over 10 years. Had that tip never been called in this would still be an unsolved case… Our legal system makes no sense at all especially the penalty phases of the crimes

  2. This was my cousins son he murdered…and i say murdered because he concealed his boat, did not render aide to Justin or the others and left them for dead all night on that lake. He got much less than he deserved and GOOD BEHAVIOR is a term that is a slap in the face to Justins memory. How dare he think he deserves any leniency at all after the slap on the wrist he recieved for what he did. He is lucky he survived that night because a member of my family unfortunately did not.

  3. I’m afraid that fella would not be around if that was my son he killed. Not because of the accident, we all have had some sort of accident in our lives but the covering up and hiding like a coward is unforgivable.

  4. I can’t believe him and his lawyer had the nerve to even ask for less probation. His sentence is nothing compared to what he deserves. He took away the life of a young man and tried to get away with it. Almost did. I totally agree with Mike and TJM. Sorry for your loss Becky.

  5. His defense attorney said “Travis is a ‘model probationer'”. That is a peculiar term. I guess that’s like “model felon” or “model offender, perpetrator and criminal”. And what’s all this about “good behavior”? I’m sorry but that’s not good behavior if you try to act good when getting caught after burying your unforgivable secret for almost 10 years and thinking you got away with murder that entire time. What a total coward! My condolences to the family and friends.

  6. In can understand if he was out there just killing people but it was an accident it should be up to the people that lost there son to tell judge to keep him in or release him

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