Vampire cult leader appeals life sentence

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Vampire cult leader Rod Ferrell, who was sentenced to life in prison in the 1996 slaying of a Lake County couple, will be appealing his conviction today at a hearing in Tavares.

Ferrell is claiming that his attorneys gave him bad advice at his 1998 trial. He says in his court papers that he was not aware of a possible voluntary intoxication defense.

Instead, he pleaded guilty, in an effort to avoid a death sentence, which he got anyway, when the jury voted 12-0 to recommend death. That sentence was later reduced to life by the Florida Supreme Court.

Ferrell, who was 16 at the time, bludgeoned Richard and Ruth Wendorf in their Eustis home, stole their Ford Explorer and left the state with the couple’s 15-year-old daughter and three other teen members of the blood-sucking cultists.

The hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. before Lake County Circuit Judge T. Michael Johnson.

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Aug. 27, 2003

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