death penalty news—-TEXAS

April 29


Houston man condemned for killing 2 loses appeal

A Houston man convicted of killing his former girlfriend and her
9-year-old daughter lost an appeal that contended he was ineligible for
execution because he was mentally disabled, moving him closer to his
punishment for the slayings more than 16 years ago.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Tuesday turned down Gerald
Cornelius Eldridge, 45, convicted of the fatal shootings of Cynthia
Bogany, 28, and her daughter, Chirissa. The two were gunned down at a
north Houston apartment where Bogany and Eldridge's son, Terrell, 9, and
Bogany's boyfriend at the time, Wayne Dotson, also were shot but survived.

The New Orleans-based court specifically refused to grant permission for
Eldridge to move forward with his appeal that contended an IQ test given
to him showed his score was 72, making him mildly disabled.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that mentally disabled people may not be

A federal district judge had rejected his appeal, finding the results were
unreliable because the defense expert hired to conduct the test failed to
consider or test for the possibility that Eldridge deliberately performed
poorly on the test. Earlier tests showed his IQ to be higher and school
records supported prosecution arguments that he was not mentally disabled.

Bogany and her daughter were killed Jan. 4, 1993, at their Houston
apartment. Terrell Bogany testified at Eldridge's capital murder trial and
told jurors his father shot his sister between the eyes at close range
after he'd kicked in the door. He also described the shooting of Dotson
and his own shooting, how his father stood over him and shot at his head.
He said he turned his head and the bullet wound up in his shoulder. He
also said he saw his mother run from the apartment as Eldridge pursued

She was shot outside as she ran to another apartment.

At his 1994 trial, Eldridge refused to sit through the punishment phase. A
Harris County jury deliberated about 30 minutes before deciding on the
death sentence.

Records showed Eldridge was sentenced in 1985 to 8 years in prison for
attempted murder for shooting a man 8 times. He was released 3 years
later, then was returned to prison in 1990 for beating his son. After his
parole 4 months later, records showed he tried to kill the boy.

Eldridge does not have an execution date.

(source: Associated Press)