Saturday, September 13, 2003

Satan worshiper gets death in killings of 3

The Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio - A man who asked to be executed for beating and stabbing three people to death was given a death sentence Friday by a three-judge panel.

The judges ordered the death penalty for Darrell Ferguson. The 25-year-old was convicted Thursday of aggravated murder in the 2001 deaths.

Ferguson, a 230-pound former high school wrestler who says he worships Satan, read a letter that angered relatives of the victims who had packed the courtroom.

Ferguson said he killed the victims intentionally, maliciously and hopes they burn in Hell. "If I was free to go back in society, I'd pick up where I left off," Ferguson said.

Ferguson was convicted of the Dec. 26, 2001, death of Thomas King, a 61-year-old man on crutches; and the deaths the next day of Arlie Fugate, 68, and his wife, Mae, 69. The murders occurred on the city's east side, about a mile apart.

In a statement read in court, James Cornett, the Fugates' son, accused Ferguson of preying on elderly and handicapped people. He called Ferguson a weak and scared man.

"You will burn in Hell for eternity for killing my mother and father," Cornett said.

The judges - Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judges David Gowdown and Dennis Langer and Miami County Municipal Court Judge Jeffrey Welbaum - unanimously agreed on the death sentence.

Under state law, the death sentenced is reviewed by the Ohio Supreme Court.

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