REDWOOD CITY, CALIF., OCT. 30 -- A former winery worker was convicted today of six counts of first-degree murder for a wine-country killing spree that left seven people dead, including his wife and two young daughters.
Defendant Ramon Salcido, 29, was found guilty of second-degree murder in the seventh slaying. Under California law he could be sentenced to die in San Quentin's gas chamber because multiple murder is among "special circumstances" that can justify a death sentence.
The panel apparently agreed with Sonoma County prosecutor Peter Bumerts that Salcido methodically criss-crossed the fertile Sonoma Valley north of San Francisco, stabbing and shooting his family and coworkers the morning of April 14, 1989.
"What this means for the families is perhaps one chapter of this horrible nightmare will be laid to rest," Bumerts after the verdicts.
"I can't say I was delighted by it, but I wasn't shocked," said defense attorney Marteen Miller. "One way or another, I think this jury had its mind made up."
Salcido sat quietly as the verdicts were read in San Mateo County Superior Court. He also was convicted of two counts of attempted murder and cleared of one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
Although Salcido confessed to the crimes, his lawyers during the three-month trial portrayed him as mentally unstable and incapable of planning the slayings.