Wednesday, May 07, 2003
Geoffrey K. Ferguson, a former Westporter convicted of killing five people at a house he owned in Redding in 1995, took his own life today by strangling himself in his Newtown prison cell, according to police.
The 52-year-old Ferguson, who graduated from Staples High School in 1971 at the age of 20 after several brushes with the law, was serving a life sentence for capital felony and arson convictions.
The crime was one of Connecticut’s worst mass murders in years.
Ferguson was found unresponsive in his cell by staff at the Garner Correctional Institution just before 3 a.m., the state Department of Correction said, according to an AP report. He was pronounced dead just after 4 a.m. at Danbury Hospital.
During his 1998 trial, prosecutors depicted Ferguson as an enraged landlord who methodically gunned down three tenants and two of their friends on April 18, 1995, after the tenants were late with their rent and had thwarted his attempts to evict them. He tried to cover up the crime by setting the house on fire.
Ferguson grew up on Warnock Drive in Westport’s Coleytown area. His mother Ruth recently died. One of his younger twin brothers still lives in the house and works in a Westport pharmacy.
“Oh, my God,” said Samuel A. Lepofsky, an 82-year-old neighbor who still lives across the street from the Ferguson home, when informed by WestportNow of Ferguson’s death.
“I feel bad about it not because he killed someone, but because he didn֒t really have a good life, said Lepofsky, who once served as Ferguson’s scoutmaster. He didn’t get along in school. He bullied everybody. It’s a shock.”
Nevertheless, he said he remembers Ferguson as a good scout who later worked as a laborer in Westport, performing small jobs around town. Ferguson married and moved to North Carolina not long before the murders.
Posted 05/07/03 Permalink