Farmers Market Murderer Manslaughterer Guilty on All Counts
As noted on LAist a few minutes after it was announced, George Russell Weller, 89, was today convicted for a 2003 incident wherein he drove his car through the Santa Monica Farmers Market, killing 10 people and injuring 63 others.
While his defense attorney tried to paint the crime as an "accident," jurors didn't swallow the pedal error defense. After nine days of deliberating, they found Weller guilty, guilty, guilty -- convicting him on 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
Weller, who has not been in court for much of the trial due to poor health, was again absent today for the reading of the verdict. He was 86 years old and driving a Buick three years ago when he caused misery on dozens of innocents and now he faces up to 18 years in prison. Attorneys on both sides of the case will return to court next Friday to schedule a sentencing hearing.
As I have said before, I find it impossible to believe that this was an accident, and I'm thrilled Weller was convicted. Weller has NEVER issued any sort of apology, either public or (as far as I know) private. In fact the jurors who were interviewed after the verdict was read said pretty much the same thing: that it was his "attitude" that made them feel that even he knew he was guilty.
He may be old and infirm, but George Russell Weller deserves to spend every remaining second of his life in prison.