Three years have passed since Caltrans toll-taker Deborah Ann Ross and Golden Gate Transit bus driver Ersie Everette were shot. But it only took a Contra Costa Superior Court jury one day to decide the fate of the man who killed them.
Jurors convicted Nathan Burris, 49, of Richmond of capital murder in the Richmond-San Rafael toll plaza shooting Wednesday. He could face the death penalty.
Burris, who acted as his own attorney, insisted his actions were justified and often laughed at and insulted the victim’s families during the trial.
Not long before her death, Ross and Burris broke off their 14-year relationship. Burris retaliated when he thought she was dating Everette, who Ross met at an Oakland church.
Burris shot Everette in the tollbooth parking lot after damaging his tire, then opened fire on Ross as she stood in her tollbooth.
Jurors meet today to discuss the possibility of a death sentence, a discussion still necessary after California voters failed to pass Proposition 34. The measure would have banned the death penalty in the state.
Burris said he is satisfied with any decision, but family members of the victim’s, such as Ross’ nephew, Anthony Lenoir:
“I’m happy with the verdict. Even though he’s pretending to be happy, I know he’s dying inside, so that’s great.”
Burris said that he would consider death his retirement, as inmates often go years without having their sentence carried out due to legal obstacles. He said if he gets life in prison, he will fight and kill other inmates.
Everette’s brothers scoffed as well, dismissing Burris’ smart talk as fear. Rob Everette said that Burris was deserving of life in jail:
“I want him to live out the life he was meant to live. He chose his life. He’s just a slave now, a slave to the system.”