A jury of six men and six women today found David Lewis Rice, a 27-year-old anticommunist drifter, guilty of the Christmas Eve murders of Seattle lawyer Charles Goldmark, his wife and their two sons, aged 12 and 10.
The verdict came after five hours of deliberation and seven days of often bizarre and contradictory testimony.
The jurors rejected Rice's plea of insanity and next week will begin hearing more testimony before determining whether to recommend the death penalty.
As he was being led away from court, Rice called prosecutor William Downing "scum" and a "liar." Asked if he was prepared to die, Rice responded, "Yup."
In closing arguments Wednesday, defense attorney Tony Savage pleaded that Rice was mentally lost in a crazed world of misguided, anticommunist soldiering -- and told the jury that Rice should be committed to an asylum.
Prosecutors countered that Rice was unstable but not irrational. "Reveal him for what he is," prosecutor Robert Lasnik asked the jurors, "someone who is more cunning than crazed, more disturbing than disturbed, more determined than deranged, more reprehensible than irresponsible."
Rice's attorneys disputed few facts about the slayings, and Rice did not testify. He earlier confessed to police that he entered the Goldmarks' home Dec. 24 convinced that Charles Goldmark, 41, an activist in civic and Democratic Party affairs, was the "regional director of the Communist Party."
Pretending to be a deliveryman, Rice pushed his way into the home by flashing a toy gun, then herded the family upstairs where he handcuffed, chloroformed, bludgeoned and stabbed them to death.
Rice had attended meetings here of a small, right-wing organization called the Duck Club. One of his attorneys, Tony Savage, argued that Rice's "mental illness" provided "fertile ground" for the group's conspiratorial beliefs and drove him to kill.
Prosecutors argued that Rice was equally motivated by a need for money in a hopeless bid to save a failing romance with a Duck Club member.
Although Rice did not testify, the jury heard two chilling and somewhat contradictory accounts of the killings in his voice. Cameras were allowed in the courtroom and highlights of the testimony were aired on local television.
Prosecutors played an 80-minute taped confession taken by police hours after Rice's arrest Dec. 26. In it, he delivered a nonchalant, almost cheerful play-by-play account of the murders that moved some jurors and family friends to tears. Others covered their faces with their hands. Rice sat perfectly still.
Rice said he became "a little rattled" during the killings only when he found the two boys in the house. "But I thought: I'm in it now. I can't stop no matter what. They've seen me," he said.
Friends arriving for Christmas Eve dinner found Annie Goldmark, 43, dead. Her husband and sons died of irreversible brain damage over the next 37 days.
Defense attorneys presented a videotaped jailhouse interview in which Rice contradicted his confession about planning the killings, saying that he had gone to the Goldmark house only to collect information about the communist hierarchy from Charles Goldmark's father, John. John Goldmark died in 1979.
Rice said he was "shocked" to find Charles Goldmark and his sons at home, sending his mind into a "trance" and placing him in a high state of "suggestibility." Surprise had done that to him before, he said, during a life in which he had received messages from "extraterrestrials" and had learned to isolate uncomfortable thoughts in a "black box" in his mind.
Rice told the interviewer that he got the idea to kill from the last words of Annie Goldmark as she went under the chloroform: "He's going to kill us." Rice claimed it took several moments for her words to register. "Then my subconscious took a hold of it," he said. "That's all it took . . . Accidents will happen."