Crime

Colleyville murder suspect free on bond; victim’s son speaks out

Bernard Joseph Gorman, the 26-year-old Irish Traveller charged with murder in the death of a housekeeper in Colleyville, leaves the Tarrant County Jail Tuesday, escorted by officers.
Bernard Joseph Gorman, the 26-year-old Irish Traveller charged with murder in the death of a housekeeper in Colleyville, leaves the Tarrant County Jail Tuesday, escorted by officers. Star-Telegram

Anita Fox had lived her life worshiping God, not money.

“One of her statements in life that she quoted often was there are two kinds of people. … She’d say there are people who use money and love people and then there are people who use people and love money,” said her son, Al Fox III.

“She loved people. That’s the caliber of person she was. She used to go above and beyond for someone.”

That is what makes it so incomprehensible that greed may have been the reason for his mother’s Sept. 23 slaying, Fox said.

Authorities say Bernard “Little Joe” Gorman and his father, Gerard “Joe” Gorman, Irish Travellers from the Houston area, stalked and then fatally stabbed Fox inside a Colleyville home where she worked as a housekeeper with hopes of collecting proceeds from a $1 million life insurance policy that Fox didn’t even know existed.

On Tuesday, Bernard Gorman was released from the Tarrant County Jail after posting a $500,000 bond. He must wear a GPS monitor and remain in Tarrant County as part of his bond conditions.

His father died of what appear to be natural causes in January before he could be arrested in the case.

A Star-Telegram reporter visited Gorman in jail Monday afternoon, but he declined to answer questions.

“I’m not doing no interview,” he said. “… I’m not talking to anybody.”

Gorman’s release comes a little more than a week after his attorney, Steven Rocket Rosen of Houston, unsuccessfully argued before Tarrant County Magistrate Gene Grant that Gorman’s $500,000 bond should be lowered and that Gorman was not a flight risk.

Gorman’s wife, Margaret “Peggy” McDonald testified during the hearing that her husband was not the type to run and would be present at any future court hearings if released on bond. She testified, however, that the family had only been able to scrape together $10,000.

But on Monday, bondsman Eric Khozindar with Big Bubba’s Bail Bonds posted the half-million dollar bond on behalf of another bondsman not licensed in Tarrant County.

Typically, families must put up at least 10 percent of the total bond — or $50,000 in this case — but Khozindar said deals where less is paid can be arranged when the bond is extremely high.

Gorman had to remain in jail until Tuesday morning when he could be escorted to the county’s Community Supervision and Corrections Department, a stipulation of his bond.

A state and federal investigation into the alleged insurance fraud is continuing.

Leaving it behind

Al Fox said his mother was only 15 when she married his father, Al Fox Jr., after the two met at a grocery store near Frisco, Calif.

“My dad walked in, I think to get a pack of cigarettes. He saw her and started a conversation and then they started dating,” Fox said. “He wasn’t much older than her. I think he may have been 20.”

When the pair later decided to be married, Al Fox Jr. altered his mother’s date of birth. That’s why, he explained, state records indicated Fox was 72 at the time of her death when she was really 69.

“That was my dad’s doing. He changed a date around and got her to where she was 18 so they could get married and also so she could drive. … She never did change it [back.] She never felt it was a big deal.”

Fox acknowledged that his father, now deceased, was an English Traveller, a nomadic ethnic group that is loosely associated with the more well-known Irish Travellers. The Travellers are known for working on the road, often doing roofing and asphalt work. Some have garnered reputations as scam artists, performing shoddy work for inflated prices or not doing the work at all.

But in the 1980s, Fox said, his father decided to leave the Travellers lifestyle behind.

“He separated himself far from that,” Fox said. “He went into real estate and never looked back. He stayed in real estate. He was very successful at that.”

‘Very old school’

Why his father left the Travellers, Fox said, is not certain.

“I wish I could ask him. My best opinion was he had never walked into a church really in his whole life. Somewhere in the ’70s, he became saved. It was my mother’s prayers that got him saved. God finally answered her prayers.

This guy changed when he walked away from something. If it was alcohol, if it was cigarettes, he wasn’t up and down. He was cut and dry and that was it,” Fox said of his father.

Fox said his father and mother owned and operated a couple of mobile home parks.

They had four children, including another son who died of illness while a young teen.

“That was her oldest child,” Fox said. “She’d already lost her father and one of her brothers. She lost quite a few family members. Through all that she never gave up on God. Most people, they go through things like that, they lose hope and they lose faith. She endured. That’s what was amazing about her. She never let go.”

After Fox Jr.’s death in 2000, Anita Fox stayed busy, cleaning houses, helping at her Hurst church, and doting on her numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, her son said.

“She never forgot where she came from,” Al Fox said. “… She was very old school. … If she wasn’t cleaning the church or … cooking there or helping somebody out there, she was out and about doing something else. She didn’t sit idle.”

Out of nowhere

Six months since his mother’s slaying, Fox said the loss of his mother still resonates deeply.

“She is greatly missed,” he said. “This has absolutely changed our lives and how we look at things, too. One day you’re here and then you’re not promised tomorrow.”

Fox said he’s grateful to God and law enforcement for providing his family answers. Some family members of murdered loved ones never get that, he said.

“One of my worst fears is that this would happen and nothing would ever come of it,” Fox said.

Fox said he had never imagined his mother’s life was in danger.

“Even though at 69, she was so full of life. In my mind, she would live to be in her upper 90s. She was very strong, very healthy,” Fox said.

The only worry he’d had, he said, was when his mother underwent an out-patient surgery procedure in the winter of 2013.

“She stayed at my home for three weeks to recover. We took care of her. That was like the biggest worry right there,” Fox said. “This storm hit us out of nowhere.

“Apparently this storm had been coming for a long time,” he said. “We just didn’t know it.”

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments