Mental issues raised as Texas inmate set to die

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - A condemned inmate who recently changed
his mind about wanting to be executed seeks to avoid the penalty tonight in Huntsville.

Thirty-year-old Danielle Simpson is set to die for the 2000 abduction and slaying an 84-year-old East Texas woman.

Investigators say Geraldine Davidson was bound, hauled around for hours in the trunk of her car, beaten and thrown into a river near Palestine (PAL'-uh-steen).

Simpson this year won approval from a federal court that he was competent to decide to drop his appeals. Then he reversed himself and lawyers now are in state and federal courts trying to save him from lethal injection.

-- Meanwhile, a judge blocked last night's execution of 45-year-old Gerald Eldridge over mental illness concerns.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal in Houston agreed to delay the scheduled punishment for 90 days. Rosenthal said Eldridge's lawyers
made a "substantial threshold showing of insanity" and should be given a hearing.

Eldridge was convicted of capital murder for a 1993 shooting spree that killed his former girlfriend, 28-year-old Cynthia Bogany, and her 6-year-old daughter, Chirissa.

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