Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Guilty Verdict in Slayings on Train Conviction Ends Bizarre Court Drama

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Guilty Verdict in Slayings on Train Conviction Ends Bizarre Court Drama

Article excerpt

Colin Ferguson was convicted Friday of murdering six passengers and wounding 19 others on a commuter train. The verdict ended a trial in which Ferguson refused an insanity plea and defended himself.

The jury deliberated for 10 hours before returning its verdict about 9:20 p.m. in a courtroom packed with survivors of the attack on the Long Island Rail Road train and families of the slain victims. Besides the murder counts, Ferguson was convicted of 22 counts of attempted murder, weapons possession and reckless endangerment. He was acquitted of 25 counts of civil rights violations, charging that he had targeted the victims because of their race.

Even Ferguson, 37, a Jamaican immigrant, anticipated the guilty verdict; only the length of the deliberations surprised him, said his legal adviser, Alton Rose.

"Guilty," said Delton Dove, the jury foreman, when asked about the first murder count. He repeated it five more times, once for each of the other victims fatally shot aboard the 5:33 p.m. train on Dec. 7, 1993.

A smattering of applause greeted the first guilty verdict, and the courtroom erupted in cheers when Ferguson was led out in handcuffs. "It's been a long 14 months, but justice has been done," said Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was killed and son crippled.

Ferguson stood mute and stared at jurors as the verdict was read. When the jury was polled again, he sat slumped in his chair at the defense table. Dove, the jury foreman, sat in the jury box, crying and shaking after the verdict.

Ferguson, who faces life in prison, asked the judge to set the verdict aside. Judge Donald Belfi told him that he could address the issue at sentencing on March 20.

Ferguson used his closing argument Thursday to accuse survivors of conspiring with police to implicate him. Victims and the families of the dead were so incensed they walked out of court. …

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