By Sean Pendergast
By Sean Pendergast
By Sean Pendergast
By Jeff Balke
By Richard Connelly
By Jeff Balke
By Casey Michel
By Craig Hlavaty
First, the cramping, followed by the feeling that she had to move her bowels.
In the middle of the night, 16-year-old Erica Basoria slipped into the bathroom, sat on the toilet and noticed the blood between her legs. Scared and hurting, she called for her sleeping boyfriend, Gerardo "Jerry" Flores, to fetch her a maxi pad.
The 18-year-old looked all over the room, finding nothing. Finally, Erica said she'd take care of it herself. He went back to bed. Sometime when he was sleeping, she expelled her five-month-old twin fetuses into the bottom of the bowl. They were just shy of ten inches; their skin sloughed, leaving only patches on palms and feet.
Around 3 a.m., she called for Jerry again. Panicked at the blood, he rushed to his mother's bedroom and told her that Erica was hurt. Someone called 911.
The medics arrived, placed Erica on a stretcher, and retrieved the fetuses and partial placenta from the toilet. In all the confusion, everyone left without Jerry. A few hours later, he went to school. He says he wanted to visit Erica, but he had already missed too many classes. He didn't want to be expelled one month before graduation.
At the hospital, a doctor and nurse noticed bruises on Erica's face, arms and stomach. They called police, who sent an officer to question the girl. Officer Scott Hamel asked her what had happened. She said nothing had happened, she just bruises easily.
Hamel asked to see her right arm. Erica pulled her sleeve back, revealing a dark bruise around her bicep and tricep, like someone had grabbed her. Hard. Again Hamel asked, and again Erica said she bruised easily. She wouldn't budge.
Hamel called the station and told his lieutenant Erica's story. A short time later, Detective John Davis met Hamel, and the two went back inside room 211.
Davis laid it out: He didn't believe that Erica had bumped into anything. Someone had hit her. Someone like her boyfriend.
Erica cried at the mention of Jerry's name. Nothing happened, she said.
Twenty minutes after eight, crime scene tech Carol Cloyd photographed the bruises under Erica's right eye and on her right arm, right wrist and abdomen. The doctor's subsequent medical report would indicate bruising on her arms "consistent with injuries from a finger grasp to her arm." Her left breast had an old bruise.
Later that morning, Davis and Lieutenant Mike Shapaka picked up Jerry at Lufkin High School for questioning. In the interview room, Jerry admitted to hitting Erica the night before, but only on the arms. He'd been out with friends, he said, and she tore into him about coming home so late. So he hit her a few times, just to get her to leave him alone.
Davis and Shapaka asked if he'd ever hit Erica before.
Yes, he said, but he always aimed for the arms.
They returned Jerry to school, only to arrest him later that afternoon.
With a videotape and CD recording the interview, Jerry repeated his story. He hit Erica only on the arms. There was nothing new.
The interview over, Shapaka turned off the devices and removed the tape and CDs.
But Jerry told him to wait. He had something more to say.
He told them he did more than hit Erica's arms. He did something unspeakable. He didn't want to do it, but she had asked. She had begged.
After Erica's doctor's visit a week earlier, Jerry said, she had decided she didn't want to be pregnant anymore. She'd heard that if someone stood on a pregnant woman's stomach, you could abort the babies. For days, she'd asked Jerry to do it. He didn't want to, but ultimately he gave in.
Erica lay on the bedroom floor, and Jerry, about five foot eight and 180 pounds, stepped onto her stomach, just above the navel. Then he pressed his K-Swiss sneakers into her flesh. Their statements vary as to how often they repeated this process. Jerry said it was two or three times during the week leading up to the miscarriage; Erica said he stepped on her twice in the two weeks prior to the miscarriage.
Back in the hospital, Erica did two things: She admitted that Jerry had hit her several times, and she confirmed Jerry's story about stepping on her stomach. Under a state law passed in 2003, she had just implicated her boyfriend in two counts of capital murder. Under that same law, she was guilty of nothing, since a mother has the right to end her pregnancy.
When Erica Basoria got pregnant in January 2004, the word around Lufkin High was that her mother hoped God would punish her by giving her twins. Castigada, they said. Cursed.
Erica and Jerry had been seeing each other since November 2002, when she was a freshman and he was a junior. Just five feet tall, Erica had big pretty eyes and a smile to match. She lived with her father at the time, in a well-kept little house a few blocks from the Lufkin Police Station.
Jerry was a carefree, soccer-playing cutup. He was close with his older brother, Jose. Together, they worked on cars, tricking out his Toyota Corolla.
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