Trial court: Miami mass murderer competent for execution next week

John Errol Ferguson is mentally competent to be executed for the murders of eight people in Miami in the 1970s, a Bradford judge ruled Friday.

Ferguson, 64, is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Florida State Prison in Bradford County. Appeals will continue in the coming days.

Defense attorneys have maintained for decades that Ferguson is severely mentally ill and his execution would be “cruel and unusual punishment.” Bradford Circuit Judge David Glant listened to two days of testimony this week before issuing his ruling Friday.

Glant acknowledged that Ferguson has a history of schizophrenia but that he exists now trouble free in prison and “there is no evidence that he does not understand” that he is to be executed for eight murders.

The judge also noted that while Ferguson claims he is the “Prince of God” and will be seated at the “right-hand” of God after his death, his beliefs are not “significantly different than beliefs other Christians may hold,” Glant wrote in his order.

Ferguson’s defense attorney, Christopher Handman, blasted the court’s ruling.

“It is impossible to fathom that the State can constitutionally put to death a man who thinks he is the Prince of God and who believes he has a destiny of being the right hand of God and returning to purify earth after the State tries to kill him,” he said in a statement. “That simply is not a rational appreciation for what's about to befall him.”

Ferguson was convicted of the July 1977 murders of six Carol City residents during a home-invasion robbery. At the time, it was the worst mass murder in Miami-Dade history.

Ferguson, now 64, also was convicted separately of murdering two teenagers, Belinda Worley, a 17-year-old Hialeah High School senior, and Brian Glenfeldt, 17, in January 1978.

The two teens had gone out for ice cream, and Ferguson pretended to be a police officer when he stopped them. He shot Glenfeldt to death and raped and murdered Worley, and stole her class ring.

Read more Afternoon Update stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category