On its fourth day of deliberations, a jury today found Gary Lee Bullock guilty on all charges, including the first degree murder of Father Eric Freed on Jan. 1, 2014, with special allegations of murder while engaged in torture, residential burglary and carjacking.
Bullock was also found guilty of two counts of residential burglary, the unlawful taking of a vehicle, carjacking (a separate charge), attempted arson and torture (again, a stand-alone charge), all felonies.
With the guilty verdicts now issued, the case will move on to phase two, during which the jury will consider whether Bullock was legally insane when the crimes were committed. Three expert witnesses are scheduled to testify in that phase, which will determine whether Bullock is sentenced to prison or a mental institution.
Bullock tortured and murdered Freed in the rectory of St. Bernard Catholic Parish in Eureka, just hours after he’d been released from the Humboldt County jail for a public intoxication arrest the previous day. Security camera footage from the church grounds showed Bullock lingering on the property for hours, acting erratically, before breaking in through a side window.
He could also be seen stealing Freed’s car and driving away from the property.
The jury began deliberations last Tuesday and asked for more information numerous times, sending notes to Judge John T. Feeney as well as the attorneys in this case, prosecutor Andrew Isaac with the District Attorney’s office and defense lawyer Kaleb Cockrum with the county’s Alternate Counsel office.
This morning the courtroom was nearly full as the clerk read off the verdicts one at a time. Friends and family members of Father Freed cried silently as each verdict was read. Bullock himself sat still, leaning slightly forward in his chair but betraying no emotions. Neither his mother nor stepfather were in attendance.
The second phase of the case is scheduled to proceed Friday morning.
Note: This post has been updated from its original version to add details and background.
- Jury Selection Begins in Trial of Gary Lee Bullock, Accused of Murdering Catholic Priest
- In Recorded Phone Call, Bullock Pleaded With His Grandma to Put Her House Up for His Bail
- ‘Bullock Intentionally Killed Father Freed,’ Prosecutor Argues in Priest Murder Case
- Jury Watches Chilling Security Camera Footage of Bullock on Night of Father Freed Murder
- Bullock’s DNA Found on Father Freed’s Body; Freed’s DNA Found on Bullock’s Clothes
- Autopsy Photos Show Brutality of Father Freed’s Death; People Rest Their Case Against Bullock
- High on Drugs and Foaming at the Mouth, Bullock was Delusional and Erratic Around Time of Freed Murder, Attorney Argues
- Bullock’s Insanity Defense Undercut as Drug Abuse History Revealed in Court
- Deliberate Crime or Psychotic Breakdown? Attorneys Make Closing Arguments in Bullock Murder Trial
- Attorneys Finish Closing Statements; Bullock Case Now in Hands of Jury
- Jury Misses a Day; Deliberations in Bullock Trial to Continue Next Week