A former librarian who fired an assault rifle into two crowded shopping centers, killing six people and wounding 10, was convicted of murder Wednesday by a jury that rejected his claim of insanity.
William Bryan Cruse, 61, was convicted on all 32 counts related to the April 23, 1987, shootings at two Palm Bay shopping centers, including charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.Sentencing was set for April 17. The state is seeking the death penalty. Cruse pleaded innocent by reason of temporary insanity.
Prosecutors had contended Cruse acted out of anger over delusions that people in the shopping centers considered him homosexual.
Final arguments depicted Cruse as a madman who should be institutionalized or as a calculating killer who deserves to be executed.
After shooting at everything that moved outside a Publix supermarket and later at the Winn-Dixie across the street, the gunman shot up the front windows of the Winn-Dixie and stormed in, shooting wildly as dozens of customers ran out the back.
Cruse held a hostage seven hours before releasing her unharmed.
Cruse later told police in a videotaped interview that he was "drunk and crazy" during the rampage.
Cruse has a history of mental instability and bizarre actions dating to the 1970s in his hometown of Lexington, Ky., according to psychiatrists and defense witnesses. He came to Florida in 1985.
Most of the experts agreed that he has a mental illness, paranoid schizophrenia. But that by itself is not enough to constitute legal insanity.