Guilty verdict returned in Texas baby murder

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 19, 2004

By LEONARD GRAY – Managing Editor

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Alfred Bourgeois, 39, of La Place, was found guilty Tuesday of the murder of his 2-year-old daughter at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas, on June 27, 2002, according to U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby.

The jury of three men and nine women began their deliberations at 10:45 a.m. and returned their verdict in 90 minutes.

With the jury’s decision, Bourgeois now faces the possibility of a death sentence or a mandatory life term in prison.

This same jury is considering additional evidence during the sentencing phase hearing to ultimately determine Bourgeois’ fate before United States District Judge Janice Graham Jack.

Bourgeois, a truck driver by trade, was arrested on June 28, 2002, after medical personal at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi determined that the story given by Bourgeois and his family as the cause of his 2-year-old daughter’s death was false.

The explanation provided was that the child had fallen five feet out of her father’s commercial tractor trailer truck onto the pavement at the Naval Air Station.

However, Shelby said, this was determined to be “wholly inconsistent with the massive head injuries the child ” had received and the obvious signs of physical abuse readily evident about the child’s body.”

An 11-hour autopsy performed on the child determined in addition to the severe head trauma which caused the child’s death, the child’s body had more than 300 marks of injury marks including whip marks, healed scars and nonspecific and patterned contusions, abrasions or excoriations, healing ulcerations, lacerations, and two bite marks about her body.

During the 12-day trial, which began March 1, the jury learned in April 2002, Bourgeois was informed by a Texas court that he was the biological father of the 2-year-old.

The child then lived with her mother in Livingston, Texas, while the Bourgeois family lived in LaPlace.

After being ordered to pay child support, Bourgeois requested and was granted a seven-week visit with the child and permitted to take temporary custody of her on May 15, 2002.

The jury heard testimony from Robin Bourgeois, the defendant’s wife and the child’s stepmother, and his now 9-year-old daughter. They told the courtroom about the events of June 27, 2002, at the Naval Air Station that directly lead to the child’s death.

Bourgeois’ older daughter testified in court that Bourgeois struck the child’s head repeatedly against the front glass window of the cab of his tractor truck before laying her on the pavement outside the truck at the Naval Air Station on June 27, 2002.

Bourgeois’ wife, who testified she feared her husband and had obtained restraining orders against him in the past, likewise told the jury Bourgeois had ordered her and her then 7-year-old daughter to tell authorities that the two year old had fallen out of the truck.

They and a number of other witnesses testified about the “hellish existence and horrific cruelty” the 2-year-old endured at the hands of her biological father over the course of approximately six weeks before her death, Shelby continued, and he added that the medical evidence supported their testimony.

Although the baby was clinically dead, through life support procedures the baby’s breathing and heartbeat were maintained, until her mother arrived at the hospital the following day.

The baby was pronounced dead as she lay in the arms of her biological mother on June 28, 2002.

During closing arguments this morning, Assistant United States Attorney Patti Hubert Booth told the jury that the evidence proved Bourgeois deliberately planned the execution of a 2-year-old baby.

“He had systematically dehumanized her, degraded her, beat her and ultimately killed her,” according to Booth.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Naval Air Station Security Police, and the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, as the incident took place on federal property.

The case was tried by Assistant United States Attorneys Patti Hubert Booth, Elsa Salinas-Patterson and Tony R. Roberts.