SAN BERNARDINO, California – A jury on Tuesday convicted a former truck driver of first-degree murder in the slayings of four women whose bodies were dumped across California in 1997-98.
Wayne Adam Ford walked into a Northern California sheriff's station in November 1998 with a woman's severed breast and told authorities it represented the "tip of the iceberg."
Deputy District Attorney Dave Mazurek expressed satisfaction with Tuesday's verdict.
"It's what we were seeking in this particular phase of the trial but we have a lot of work left," the prosecutor said. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty against Ford.
Prosecutors portrayed Ford, 44, as a predator who sought out prostitutes, had sex with them in his truck and then killed them by strangulation to satiate sadistic desires.
Blood and sperm evidence linked Ford to the killings and the unidentified woman's thighs and boiled breasts were found at a campsite where Ford lived for a time, prosecutors said.
Although Ford confessed, defense attorneys raised questions about his state of mind leading up to and during the killings.
The defense focused on his troubled past, which his lawyers said included a failed marriage, a lack of time with his son, a difficult childhood and a head injury he suffered in a 1984 traffic collision. His attorneys said he suffered from mental problems, was remorseful and conflicted about the killings but decided to surrender to authorities.
A prostitute who testified during the trial said Ford choked her during sex and then showed her a photograph of his ex-wife and their son. She said Ford cried and claimed his behavior was revenge against his ex-wife.