A brilliant chemistry buff convicted of killing one neighbor and sickening others by poisoning their soft drinks was sentenced Wednesday to die in the electric chair.
George James Trepal, 42, showed no emotion when Circuit Judge Dennis Maloney followed a jury's 9-3 recommendation to impose the death penalty.Authorities maintained Trepal was fed up with his neighbors' loud music, noisy off-road motorbikes, their dogs chasing his cats and other aggravations that built up over eight years in the community of Alturas.
So in October 1988, prosecutors said, he spiked seven soda bottles with thallium nitrate - a highly toxic, banned heavy metal compound - and planted them in his neighbor's kitchen.
Trepal, a computer programmer and member of the Mensa high-IQ club, was convicted Feb. 5 of first-degree murder, six counts of attempted murder and numerous product-tampering charges. For those counts, he was sentenced to a concurrent 90 years in prison.