Sunday, August 3, 2003

Inmate confesses to slaying 8 people

Man already accused of killing three

The Associated Press

DAYTON - A man who said he wants to be executed for three slayings claims to have killed eight other people, according to a psychological evaluation obtained by the Dayton Daily News. Police are investigating the claims.

"They would never find out because I was so slick," Darrell Wayne Ferguson, 25, told psychologist Barbara Bergman in May. "It will show how screwed-up the system works or doesn't work. They don't know their job."

Dayton Police Detective Doyle Burke said Friday he is working with Ferguson and his attorneys on verifying the stories and identifying any victims.

"He's cooperating with us and providing details on different incidents," Burke said. However, Ferguson has not provided specific dates, places or names, the detective said.

Bergman's report said Ferguson is likely to be "unrealistic and even grandiose" in describing his own abilities and acts.

Ferguson, known as "Gator," is accused in the Dec. 26, 2001, death of Thomas King, a 61-year-old man on crutches; and deaths the next day of Arlie Fugate, 68, and his wife, Mae, 69.

Prosecutors said Ferguson stabbed the victims and stomped on them with steel-toed boots. He is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge David A. Gowdown had ordered Bergman to evaluate Ferguson's competence after Ferguson told the judge in March he wanted to withdraw his innocent pleas and plead guilty so he could be put to death.

The newspaper got a copy of Bergman's report using the state's Public Records Act.

Gowdown ruled June 26 that Ferguson is competent to take charge of his case, waive a jury trial and plead guilty at a hearing set to begin Sept. 8 before a three-judge panel.

A home telephone listing could not be found for Bobby Joe Cox, one of Ferguson's attorneys, who declined comment on the psychologist's 22-page report.

Ferguson showed no symptoms of major mental disorder but might have a severe personality disorder that makes him impulsive and unable to care about others, Bergman wrote. Personality tests also showed he is easily provoked and shows explosive anger when frustrated.

Ferguson told her, "I am unpredictable and I could flip any minute - like a rage."

At 20, Ferguson was sentenced to more than two years in prison for a burglary conviction. After his release, he was placed in a drug treatment residential house in Cincinnati, from which he was released for the holidays days before the three killings.

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