Man arrested, accused of choking woman to death with telephone cord

Published: Monday, June 04, 2018 @ 8:21 PM

Man Arrested, Accused Of Choking Woman With Telephone Cord

A 36-year-old man accused of beating and fatally choking a 61-year-old Florida woman with a telephone cord will remain jailed.

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Eric Gay, 36, was arrested Sunday on charges of first-degree murder after deputies said he killed Laura Russell while stealing her prescription medications and cash.

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A judge denied Gay bond Monday morning.

Deputies said Russell's body was discovered in the trunk of her car in Silver Springs, Florida.

Witnesses told detectives that Gay had taken Russell’s car to his home after he spent the night at her home, an arrest report said. 

While at Russell’s home Saturday, Gay sneaked into her bedroom while she was sleeping to steal her prescriptions and cash only to have her wake up and catch him, detectives said.

He then choked Russell until she was unconscious and wrapped her body in a sleeping bag, believing she was dead, according to detectives. 

Detectives said when Russell started to wake up later, Gay beat her with a large flashlight in an attempt to kill her before choking her to death with a phone cord.

He then placed Russell's body in the trunk of her car and drove her body to his home, detectives said.

Stacy Brigman, a friend of the suspect, said Gay had been living on his property in a camper for about three weeks. He said Gay is related to his ex-wife and recently moved to the area from West Virginia.

"Meeting the man, working with the man, you would think he's a good guy," said Brigman. "You would never have thought that."

Russell's roommate asked Brigman to return the car later Sunday. Brigman said he called 911 after finding Russell's body.

"As soon as I see her foot, I didn't need to look no further," Brigman said. "I want him to sit in his cell for the rest of his life with no one around him and think about what he did to that lady."

Gay told deputies he's a methamphetamine addict, but they said they didn't test him to see if he was high.

On Monday, Gay told a judge he has no income and will need a public defender. His next court appearance is scheduled for July.

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