PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

December 11, 2012

Execution date set for Elroy Chester

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

— An execution date has been set for a Port Arthur man convicted in the Feb. 6, 1998 murder of a firefighter.

Criminal District Court Judge John Stevens signed an order setting April 24, 2013 as the execution date for Elroy Chester, according to a court coordinator.

Elroy Chester pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death in 1998 for the fatal shooting of Port Arthur firefighter Willie Ryman III. Ryman was killed when he tried to stop Chester from raping his two nieces.

The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Elroy Chester in late October. Lawyers for Chester say he is mentally impaired, making him ineligible for execution under U.S. Supreme Court guidelines. Prosecutors have argued that Chester was not mentally impaired.

Chester also confessed to killing at least four other people during a six-month crime spree in the Pear Ridge area of Port Arthur, according Port Arthur News archives.

The victims include: John Henry Sepeda, 78, killed during a burglary; Etta Mae Stallings, 87, in another burglary; Cheryl DeLeon, 40, whom he stalked and fatally beat with his gun as she arrived home from work; and Albert Bolden Jr., 35, who was his brother-in-law and was shot in the head. According to court documents, Chester told police he killed Bolden for beating his sister or for setting him up with a date with a woman who turned out to be a transvestite.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

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