Condemned Man Tied to Four Slayings Scheduled to Die

8-10-05 - Authorities say a Central Texas man's need for cash to buy cocaine led to a killing spree that left four people dead 17 years ago and his scheduled Wednesday evening trip to the death chamber.

Gary Sterling was 20 when he arrested for fatally beating a pair of elderly brothers at their home near Hillsboro in May 1988, then led sheriff's deputies to the bodies of two more slaying victims, a woman and another man.

Sterling, now 38, pleaded guilty in exchange for two life prison terms for the bludgeoning deaths of William Porter, 72, and Porter's brother, Leroy, 71. The two were killed at their home in Pelham, which straddles the Hill and Navarro county lines about 35 miles northeast of Waco.

Prosecutors in Navarro County tried Sterling for fatally beating 72-year-old John Carty over the head with a bumper jack and stealing his car, a TV, shotgun and a lantern. Sterling took police to a rural grassy area where they found Carty's body.

Jurors in Corsicana who convicted him in 1989 of capital murder decided he should be put to death.