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Furrow Pleads GuiltyAired January 24, 2001 - 1:36 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: You may remember this shooting at the Jewish day care center in San Fernando Valley in California in August of 1999. The suspect was Buford Furrow, who allegedly also killed a mail carrier.
We are just now learning that he has entered the plea of guilty. And right now, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles is talking about his sentence.
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. ATTORNEY: (JOINED IN PROGRESS) ... we have the advanced proctor for the Los Angeles Police Department.
And I would also like to introduce our prosecution team here from the United States attorneys office and the civil rights division of the Department of Justice: Michael Terrow (ph), the chief of our narcotics section; Michael Jenako (ph), the chief of our civil rights section; Bobby Bernstein (ph) of the civil rights division; Caroline Ritcloth (ph) of our civil rights section.
And I would also like to introduce Ismael Ileto,the brother of Joseph Santos. Ileto, from whom you will hear in a few minutes.
The facts which Furrow admitted to today are set forth fully in the plea agreement, a copy of which will be available to you.
Those facts speak of the horrible crimes that Furrow committed, the crimes that shook this entire community and this nation, crimes that justify a sentence of life in federal imprison without release.
As you know, after we first filed the charges in this case, we determined to pursue the death penalty, based the upon the evidence that we had gathered about the murder of Mr. Ileto and the steps that Furrow had taken to commit that and the crimes of August 10th, 1999.
We have now agreed to no longer pursue the death penalty against Furrow, based upon information that we obtained after we made our initial decision, information that was not available to us before. That information revealed Furrow's history of mental illness and other mitigating factors against the death penalty.
We, for the first time, gained access to evidence regarding Furrow's mental health after our initial recommendation to seek the death penalty. The evidence revealed that documentic -- documented psychiatric history that includes three in-patient psychiatric hospitalizations, all preceding the crimes of August 10th, 1999, and efforts to obtain professional and emergency help even earlier, dating back 10 years before Furrow committed those heinous crimes.
I should underscore the fact that the evidence of psychiatric illness revealed that Furrow had volunteered himself to treatment facilities over the course of the 10-year period on repeated occasions, complaining that he was suffering from homicidal and suicidal thoughts.
After expert analyses of Furrow's history of mental illness, up to the present, we evaluated that evidence, the mental evidence, as the death penalty statutory framework calls upon us to do.
We weighed the mitigating and aggravating factors in this case, and determined that this disposition is the appropriate one, and that Buford O'Neil Furrow Jr. deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of release.
ALLEN: So there is the story. And you remember the story, after seeing those pictures that we just showed you, of those children being let out of the Jewish community center, the day that Mr. Furrow came in and starting shooting. He killed no one there, but later, now, he's admitted to killing a Filipino-American letter carrier, Joseph Ileto.
And as you heard, in a plea bargain, he will not get the death penalty. He will spend his life in prison without the possibility of a parole.
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