HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review lower court rulings that a Texas death row inmate may have faked mental illness to avoid execution for the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend and her daughter 24 years ago in Houston.

Attorneys for 53-year-old condemned prisoner Gerald Eldridge contend he is mentally ill. The high court has said mentally ill people can be executed if they have a factual and rational understanding of why they’re being punished.

The justices’ decision Monday, with no comment, moves Eldridge closer to execution for the 1993 slayings of his 28-year-old former girlfriend, Cynthia Bogany, and her 9-year-old daughter, Chirissa.

Eldridge in 2009 was less than two hours from lethal injection when a federal judge halted the punishment so the mental illness claims could be examined.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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