Neil Revill faces spending the rest of his life behind bars after being found guilty in Los Angeles of one count of firstdegree murder over the death of Kimberly Crayton – the niece of singer Al Jarreau – and one count of seconddegree murder over the killing of Arthur Davodian nearly ten years ago.
The 38-year-old, originally from Consett, in County Durham, was also found guilty of two charges of transporting controlled substances.
One of Revill’s attorneys, Michael M Crain, told The Northern Echo last night he would be filing a motion for a new trial and, if that fails, he will be taking the case to the US Court of Appeal.
Mr Crain said: “This verdict is very disappointing.
“We do not think the right person was convicted. The verdict was inconsistent with the forensic evidence in the case. It can only lead to one proper conclusion – and that is that someone else committed this crime.”
Mr Crain said the British Government had been “quite helpful in asking the District Attorney’s office that they do not seek the death penalty”.
Even by Los Angeles’ standards, the double killing, on October 11, 2001, was exceptionally brutal. Mr Davodian, 22, was stabbed 17 times before his head was severed. It was found by a schoolboy ten days later in the front yard of a Masonic lodge.
Miss Crayton, 20, who suffered terrible wounds on her hands and arms, had locked herself in their bedroom while her lover died. But the killer smashed down the door.
She was stabbed 19 times. Her 14-month-old baby was spared.
Revill has protested his innocence since his arrest in November 2001.
He has always said that Mr Davodian was a friend, and that he went to his apartment as an invited guest on the night before the killings.
Opening the case in Los Angeles, Deputy District Attorney Keri Modder told jurors Miss Crayton had defensive wounds that showed she had fought for her life.
During the six-week trial, jurors heard from a prison informant who testified that Revill confessed to what appeared to be a drug-fuelled paranoid episode.
According to the informant, Revill, who was high on methamphetamines, suspected Mr Davodian was trying to keep him in the property while Israeli-organised crime figures were coming to kill him.
Prosecutors, who at first sought the death penalty, said the informant’s account was supported by DNA evidence, including Revill’s blood, which was found on Ms Crayton’s daughter. But his attorney said it was “a very, very tiny drop of blood”, which could be explained by the fact that methamphetamine abusers such as Revill have lots of scabs, which they pick.
Mr Crain said the prosecution had also produced evidence that Revill’s DNA was found under the fingernails of Ms Crayton’s left hand.
But, he added, the DNA could have been explained by an innocent transfer and there was evidence of DNA of at least two unknown people at the flat.
Mr Crain said: “The forensic evidence was inconsistent.
Mr Revill was born in the North-East, but as a child he moved to Germany, where his father was stationed with the RAF.
Later, he moved back to County Durham and lived with his grandfather in Stanley, before moving to Sunderland.
From there he went backpacking in Europe, met his future wife and moved to the US, where his marriage broke up.
Mr Davodian’s mother, Leontina, said last night that justice had been done.
Judge Larry Paul Fidler declared a mistrial on a fifth count after the jury remained deadlocked on a charge alleging that Revill assaulted a man just over a month after the killings.
Revill, who is due to be sentenced on April 22, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.