• August 22, 2014

Trial to begin in child death case

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Posted: Sunday, June 26, 2005 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:48 pm, Tue Feb 11, 2014.

By Michelle Guffey

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON Jury selection begins Monday in the murder trial of a 32-year-old Temple man accused of killing his 1-year-old son at their home in Temple.

Christopher Lamont Gentry will go on trial in Judge Joe Carrolls 27th District Court on an April 27, 2002, charge of murdering his son, Christopher Xavier Gentry.

According to the arrest affidavit, Gentry was alone with his son at their home in Temple when the child stopped breathing. However, instead of calling 9-1-1, Gentry called the boys mother, Debra Gaylen.

Gaylen told police that when she left that morning, her son was fine and in good health. She stated that after she received Gentrys call, she returned home and found her child not breathing. Gentry informed her at this point that he had not called 9-1-1.

The medical examiner reported that the cause of death was non-accidental and homicidal violence was committed against the boy.

Gentry was indicted on Sept. 10, 2003 almost a year and a half after the incident. In an earlier article, First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said that because of the complexity of the case and the time involved in getting a thorough autopsy, prosecutors were not able to bring an indictment against Gentry within 90 days of his being jailed.

Because of that irregularity, Gentry was able to get his bond reduced from $100,000 to $6,500 in July 2003 after spending 140 days in jail. Gentry has been out on bond since that time.

Police didnt bring (the case) to us until 03, Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe said there were several reasons why the case took three years to come to trial it took a year to get an autopsy report; there was additional investigation; Gentry fired his lawyer; and the trial was reset a few times.

In June 2004, Gentrys lawyer filed a motion to suppress evidence, stating that Gentry did not know he could refuse to sign a consent form allowing officers to search his home the day his son died.

Gentrys attorney, Terence Norman, cited as a reason that the police were trying to deceive his client by not telling him he could refuse to sign the consent-to-search form.

Bledsoe said that the form Gentry signed stated that he had the right to refuse to sign the form.

This was heard in Judge Martha Trudos 264th District Court. Judge Trudo denied the motion to suppress evidence, allowing it to be introduced at the trial.

The trial is scheduled to last four days.

Contact Michelle Guffey at mguffey@kdhnews.com

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