Texas man who killed 2 in road rage loses appeal
Sunday, September 16, 2012
HOUSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected a suburban Dallas man's bid to get off death row for the road rage slayings of two truck drivers 14 years ago.
The ruling Friday from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals moves Douglas Feldman, 54, a step closer to execution for the shooting deaths of Robert Everett, 36, of Marshfield, Mo., and Nicholas Velasquez, 62, of Irving, Texas.
Feldman's lawyer, Robin Norris, said Saturday he hadn't read the ruling yet but would ask for a review from the U.S. Supreme Court.
"And very likely, as futile as it usually is, try some clemency petition to the governor after that if we don't get the Supreme Court to take the case," Norris said.
Feldman does not have an execution date but Norris anticipated Dallas County prosecutors soon would request one from Feldman's trial court.
In his appeal, Feldman contended that he had deficient legal help at his trial, that the jury received improper instructions and that a prospective juror improperly was dismissed.
Feldman, a former financial analyst, testified at his 1999 trial that he carried a 9 mm handgun when riding his motorcycle because he felt his life was in danger. His lawyers presented evidence showing that he had been treated earlier for substance abuse and paranoia.
He told jurors he cruising on his Harley Davidson on a Dallas expressway in August 1998 when a truck "came out of nowhere, just flying." He said he feared for his life, and that he became him angry.
Feldman testified that he fired at Everett's truck "because I felt like I needed to try to stop that man." When the truck continued on the highway, "I chased Mr. Everett down, and I shot him to death."
Moments later, he spotted Velasquez at a gas station, "exploded again in anger" and shot him, even though Valasquez had done nothing to him.
"I felt emotionally compelled," Feldman told jurors. "I was consumed by anger."
A third man also was shot but survived.
The jury took 24 minutes to convict Feldman of capital murder. Among evidence were letters Feldman wrote to prosecutors in which he confessed to the shootings and referred to jurors hearing his case as "a bunch of fat, ignorant slobs."
Jurors took 90 minutes before deciding he should be put to death.