Nathan Burris, convicted of 2009 Toll Plaza slayings
KTVU and Wires
MARTINEZ, Calif. —
A Richmond man who begged a Contra Costa Superior Court jury to convict him during his two-week trial got his wish Wednesday – a guilty verdict on two counts of capital murder.
It took the jury just a day of deliberations to return the verdict for Nathan Burris, who now could be sentenced to death in the daylight slayings of 51-year-old toll collector Deborah Ross and 58-year-old bus driver Ersie "Chuck" Everette at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza in August 2009.
Burris, who acted as his own attorney, laughed throughout much of the two-week trial and even confessed to the slayings from the witness stand.
He also asked jurors to convict him quickly so he could watch "Monday Night Football" back at the jailhouse. Burris told the jury he no remorse and no regrets involving the fatal shootings.
While Burris has confessed his guilt throughout court proceedings over the past three years and did so again from the stand at his trial, he had pleaded not guilty.
"I have from day one admitted I was the shooter," Burris told the jurors.
Burris also testified that he is "not looking to blame any of my actions on drugs or a bad childhood" and is not claiming that the killings were committed in self-defense.
Instead, he said from the witness stand that his decision to follow and murder his former girlfriend and the man he believed she was dating was an act of "self-preservation."
Burris, who was working as a long-haul truck driver, testified that he had become suspicious of Ross' relationship with Everette while he and Ross were still living together. He testified that at one point he was threatened by Everette, although he did not explain how.
On the evening of Aug. 11, 2009, Burris testified, he spotted Everette's pickup truck parked in the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza parking lot, where Ross worked.
After slashing the truck's tires, he left the area and then returned after checking to ensure there were no California Highway Patrol officers near the parking lot, he testified.
"If you're going on a mission like I'm going on, you want to be successful ... you want to get it done," Burris said.
The defendant testified that when he saw Everette in the truck, he ran up and shot him multiple times in the head and chest.
Next, he testified, he turned his attention to Ross, who was working her shift in one of the bridge's tollbooths.
"My hate and passion and anger got the better of me," he said. "There's a thin line between love and hate, and that's what it was for her."
Burris said he shot Ross in the arm, then ran around the tollbooth and opened fire again.
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