Larry Gill, a 32-year-old Lorton resident, was found guilty yesterday of two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of a state trooper and an Army sergeant who tried to stop a domestic dispute.
A Fairfax County Circuit Court jury also convicted Gill of one count of malicious wounding but acquitted him of attempted capital murder of a Fairfax County police officer who also attempted to intervene.
Gill was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, but the seven-woman, five-man jury lowered the charge after finding that there was no evidence of premeditation, said Gill's attorney, Blair Howard.
"I am not unhappy with the verdict. I think the jury was very fair and took into consideration the testimony of character witnesses," Howard said.
The jury, which deliberated for almost three hours, recommended that Gill be sentenced to a maximum of two 20-year prison terms for each murder charge and five years for the malicious wounding charge, Howard said.
Gill will be sentenced in September by Judge J. Howe Brown, who can reduce the recommended sentence but not increase it.
The shootings occurred Jan. 15 after Gill had argued with his wife Pam and her brother, Gregory Jividen, who had been living in the Gills' Lorton town house for five months.
According to testimony, Gill's wife had decided to leave him. As Jividen was standing in the parking lot waiting for his sister, Gill shot, wounding him in the back.
Neighbors Alexander Cochran, a Virginia state trooper, and Dennis Kief, an Army sergeant, were shot and killed as they ran to help Jividen.
Another neighbor, Fairfax County police officer Thomas Jones, said he was shot at as he tried to intervene.
During the three-day trial, the defense attempted to prove that Gill had acted on "irresistible impulse."
Although Gill knew his acts were wrong, said Howard, his diseased mental condition prevented him from controlling his actions.
Character witnesses for the defense described Gill as "a gentle giant" who had been troubled since childhood.
The January shootings were a radical departure from Gill's behavior, said Howard.
Witnesses for the prosecution, including a forensic psychologist, argued that Gill was not mentally ill.
Gill will remain in the Fairfax County jail until sentencing.