An Oklahoma jury has found James D. Sheker, a former Falls Church contractor, guilty of the 1975 murder of a former Washington scientist whose identity he subsequently assumed.
The second-degree murder conviction pronounced Friday means Sheker now faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison for murdering former National Academy of Science researcher Farlan Speer.
Sheker allegedly had lured Speer to Oklahoma in November 1975, with the promise of a high-paying position with a mining company. Speer disappeared and Sheker assumed his identity.
Two-and-a-half years later Speer's body was found in a shallow clay grave with three bullets in his head.
Friday's verdict brings to an end a four-day trial in which Speer's bullet-pierced skull was introduced into evidence. Twenty-three witnesses testified for the prosecution, none for the defense. Sheker did not take the stand.
Sheker is currently serving a two-year sentence for impersonating an Internal Revenue Service agent in California and had to be transferred from a federal prison in that state to stand trial in Guthrie, Okla., for Speer's murder.
Oklahoma officials said Sheker is being held in the Logan County Jail awaiting sentencing on May 15. In a telephone interview he refused to say whether he would appeal his conviction.
"I have nothing to say at this point. Thank those friends and so-called friends of mine that are concerned about me out there, and to you I say 'Shalom,'" Sheker said.