Gerald Eldridge had eaten most of his final meal of pancakes, peanut butter, baked potato and chocolate milk this afternoon when a Houston federal court stayed his execution -- just two hours before he was to be put to death.
Eldridge, 45, had been condemned for the January 1993 murders of his ex-girlfriend Cynthia Bogany, 28, and her 9-year-old daughter, Chirrisa.
Prison spokesman Jason Clark said Eldridge was talking on the telephone with a relative when he was told of the stay.
"He became very emotional," Clark said. Prison authorities were preparing to return him to death row in nearby Livingston.
U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal granted Eldridge a 90-day stay and authorized expenditure of $7,500 for further psychiatric examinations.
Eldridge’s attorney, Lee Wilson of Houston, had argued in his appeal that the killer might be seriously mentally ill and incompetent to be executed. Under state law, a person must understand that he will be executed and why before he legally can be put to death.
Gerald Cornelius Eldridge, who is mentally ill and has an IQ of 72, was scheduled for execution today but received a stay. Eldridge, 45, was sentenced to death for the 1993 shooting deaths of his former girlfriend, Cynthia Bogany and her nine-year old daughter Chirissa in Houston.
The second is a man named Danielle Simpson, sentenced to death for the murder of 84-year old Geraldine Davidson.
On Thursday, Robert Thompson is scheduled for execution. He was convicted and sentenced to death under the Law of Parties, even though it was his accomplice who fired the bullet that killed the victim. The accomplice was sentenced to life.
Members of various groups, including Texas Moratorium Network, Students Against the Death Penalty, Campaign to the End the Death Penalty, Kids Against the Death Penalty and the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement participate in vigils and protests on the day of each execution in Texas. The protests are held in various cities, including Huntsville and Austin. The protest in Austin is at 5:30 pm on the sidewalk in front of the Texas Capitol facing Congress Avenue at 11th Street.