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Convicted cultist: Koresh will make "awesome' return

One of seven Branch Davidians convicted in the trial of 11 cult members said Sunday that dead cult leader David Koresh would return and prove detractors wrong.

"When David Koresh comes back, there's going to be a lot of people put to shame," Renos Avraam, of London, England, told reporters at a San Antonio jail where he and other Branch Davidians, convicted Saturday, are awaiting sentencing.

"He's going to come in great majesty and glory, and he'll be like the ghost rider in the sky when he comes. It's going to be awesome," the 30-year-old Avraam said.

He added that Koresh's return within the next 3{ years would prove Koresh "was no charlatan."

Koresh died April 19, 1993, in a fire that destroyed the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, and ended a 51-day standoff between cult members and federal agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Koresh's body was found inside the compound with a bullet in his forehead.

More than 80 other compound residents, including 17 children, also died during the blaze.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the government's raid of the compound, Avraam and Livingston Fagan, 34, of Nottingham, England, each professed innocence and denied any conspiracy to commit any acts against anyone except in self-defense.

"People don't like odd people. They don't like odd beliefs," Avraam said. "If you go through the Bible, it's been nothing but religious wars."

Avraam, Fagan and three others were convicted of aiding and abetting in the voluntary manslaughter of four federal agents during last year's raid. They face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The jury acquitted all 11 defendants of charges of conspiracy to commit murder, with its mandatory life sentence. Five Branch Davidians also died in the gunbattle.

Two defendants were convicted of federal weapons violations, which carry maximum 10-year prison sentences. Four were acquitted of all charges.

U.S. District Judge Walter Smith is not expected to sentence the seven for several weeks.

Two of the four defendants cleared of all charges, Ruth Ottman Riddle, 29, of Toronto, and Norman Allison, 29, of Manchester, England, remain in jail awaiting deportation for being illegal U.S. residents. The pair will not fight deportation, relatives said.

None of the 11 defendants testified at the seven-week trial, which included testimony by one wounded agent who identified Fagan as the man who stood outside the main compound building and shot him during the raid.

Another agent testified that he too was shot at by Fagan, but the bullets glanced off his helmet.

Fagan told reporters he was not outside during the gunbattle and said he did not fire a shot because "unfortunately, my gun jammed."

Fagan said his beliefs taught him "you have the Bible in your right hand" and "in your left hand you have whatever it takes to defend it."