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Judge Cites ‘Genuine Evil,’ Gives Death Sentence to Youth, 17

THE WASHINGTON POST

A 17-year-old who proclaims he is a vampire and admits murdering a middle-aged couple with a crowbar was sentenced Friday to die in Florida’s electric chair by a judge who said the teen proves that “there is genuine evil in the world.”

Rodrick Justin Ferrell of Murray, Ky., admitted killing Richard Wendorf and Naoma Queen in their home in Eustis, 35 miles northwest of Orlando, on Nov. 25, 1996. The letter “V,” apparently for vampire, was burned into Wendorf’s body.

Ferrell said he and three friends, who also called themselves vampires, traveled to Eustis after Heather Wendorf, whom he had met when both were students there, asked him to help steal her parents’ sports utility vehicle so she could run away. Prosecutors said she intended to join a group headed by Farrell that engaged in group sex and drank blood as part of what members considered vampire rituals.

Ferrell, Heather Wendorf and the other three, including Ferrell’s former girlfriend, were arrested three days after the slayings at a motel in Baton Rouge, La., at which point, police said, Ferrell bragged about the murders.

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In imposing the death penalty, Lake County Circuit Judge Jerry T. Lockett was following a jury’s recommendation returned Monday. Ferrell interrupted opening arguments in the trial to plead guilty to first-degree murder, but the jury heard testimony in the sentencing phase to decide between a recommendation of life without parole or death.

After imposing the death sentence, the judge urged the grand jury that brought an indictment against Farrell to reconvene and, based on new evidence revealed during the hearing, indict Heather Wendorf for her role in the slayings.

Prosecutor Brad King said he doubts he will do that because “you don’t indict someone if you can’t prove they’re guilty.”


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