Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco murder trial: Son recalls stepfather 'grinning' as mother was stabbed to death

NEW PORT RICHEY — During an argument after church one Sunday in July 2008, authorities said, Orane Ferguson grabbed a knife and stabbed his wife more than 50 times. She died on the floor of the guest bathroom in their house in Land O'Lakes.

Lenora Michelle Ferguson's teen son, Gabriel Neal, tried to intervene. He was stabbed in the chest and collapsed in a neighbor's yard, but lived.

Orane Ferguson, a native of Jamaica who married his wife to stay in the United States, was arrested. His trial started Monday.

Whether he was the person wielding the knife that day is not in dispute. Whether he consciously intended to kill his wife is.

Prosecutors say it was first-degree murder. Ferguson is also charged with the first-degree attempted murder of his stepson.

Before he attacked them, Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis told jurors, Ferguson told Neal: "I'm going to kill you and your mom."

Ferguson's defense attorney says the stabbing that day was the act of a man who couldn't take any more abuse.

Willie Pura told jurors that Michelle Ferguson frequently threatened to kick her husband out and have him sent back to Jamaica if he upset her. She humiliated him in public yet demanded that he get her pregnant.

"She basically wanted to own this man as her husband and parade him around," Pura said.

So on the afternoon of July 20, 2008, when his wife stuck her finger in his face and fussed at him about something he was cooking, Pura said Ferguson snapped.

Neal, now 18, took the stand Monday. He said as his mother was being stabbed, he tried to break through the bathroom door. But each time he did, he said Ferguson turned the knife on him. As Neal was stumbling backward, he said, Ferguson "was grinning."

The trial continues today.

Reach Molly Moorhead at moorhead or (727) 869-6245.

Pasco murder trial: Son recalls stepfather 'grinning' as mother was stabbed to death 02/28/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 28, 2011 11:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Wins record in reach for Phil Hayford after nearly four decades of coaching


    ST. PETERSBURG — Phil Hayford always wanted to be a football coach.

    Keswick Christian football coach Phil Hayford in the huddle during practice at the school in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2017. Hayford is one win shy of tying the Pinellas County record for overall wins. Hayford, 70, has an overall record of 194-143, which includes 33 years at Shorecrest and two at Keswick.
  2. Rick and Tom podcast: Big sigh of relief for the Bucs


    The Bucs got good news on Jameis Winston's throwing shoulder as x-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day with a chance to play this weekend in Buffalo. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom …

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws incomplete under pressure during Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Drug czar nominee Marino withdraws name amid report he weakened DEA


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says the Pennsylvania congressman he chose to be the nation's drug czar is withdrawing from consideration for the job.

    U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., left, sponsored the law that weakened the DEA's enforcement abilities. Seen with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in 2015, Marino is nominated to be the nation's drug czar. [Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg]
  4. Photo of the Day for October 17, 2017 - Urban possums

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Roger Kimble of Tampa, FL.

  5. Exposé 'Champions Way' uses FSU to illustrate bad behavior in college programs


    While the entire college football universe was focused on a sexual assault allegation against quarterback Jameis Winston during Florida State's 2013 national title run, another off-field scandal was playing out quietly.

     Jameis Winston (5) warms up before the game between Florida State Seminoles and the University of Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.