Student Convicted of First-Degree Murder in College Shootings
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ A college student was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday and sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting two people and wounding four others during a rampage at his school.
Wayne Lo, 19, received the mandatory sentence and won’t be eligible for parole. He listened impassively as the verdicts were read.
Teresa Beavers, who was wounded in the 20-minute spree at Simon’s Rock College of Bard and uses a wheelchair, clutched a handkerchief to her face and cried.
A Hampden County Superior Court jury deliberated 18 hours over three days before reaching its verdict. The 12-member panel also convicted Lo of si counts of attempted murder and seven counts of assault for the Dec. 14, 1992, rampage at the school in the western Massachusetts town of Great Barrington.
Though only four people were wounded, authorities said Lo also pointed his assault rifle at others.
Lo is a native of Taiwan and resident of Billings, Mont. He was a promising classical violinist and sophomore at the time of the rampage.
Lo did not testify. His lawyers described him as a tortured loner who believed he was acting on God’s wishes and was insane.
Witnesses said Lo planned the shootings. They said he left a trail of quasi-religious writings and copied biblical passages to trick people into thinking he was crazy.
People who know Lo said he was a troubled teen-ager who sometimes voiced hatred for blacks, Jew, homosexuals, people with AIDS and the disabled.
Lo believed that God had told him to cleanse the campus of homosexuality, drug abuse and lying, according to testimony.
″I think the complete answer of a motive will always be something of a mystery,″ said prosecutor Gerard Downing.
Student Galen Gibson and professor Nacunan Saez were killed.
The alternative school has about 320 students, including some who leave high school early. The trial was moved from Berkshire County to make it easier to find impartial jurors.
Gibson’s father, Gregor Gibson, spoke passionately about his son in court before the sentencing.
″He was everything his murderer was not - flexible, forgiving and nurturing,″ he said.
Beavers, a campus security guard when she was shot twice in the side, said she was relieved. She said Lo’s parents, Chia Wei Lo and Lin-lin, apologized to her.
Lo’s parents released a statement after their son was sentenced.
″If there was any way to alleviate their pain and to help the lives of the victims, we would do so. We know that we cannot,″ they said.