David A. Gartrell
25 Years Old

August 13, 1969 to April 18, 1995

David Gartrell "Jeeps" of Georgetown, Connecticut, was good looking, handsome, outgoing and friendly to all who knew him. He was a helpful neighbor and a conscientious worker. David was a landscaper, who through hard work, was appointed to the position of foreman by his employer. David was making a place for himself within the community. He served his neighbors and the community as a volunteer firefighter. David had been called a "top notch firefighter" as well as an "exceptionally avid firefighter whose enthusiasm for the profession never settled down." Months before his death, he had also taken on the responsibility of his own home. David had a zest for life and a giving spirit. Members of the community have said he was so genuine, a genuinely open person. He was a lover of animals and found much joy and fulfillment in the outdoors. David and his four friends (also victims) enjoyed his boat out on the lake many times together.

David had twinkling eyes and a vivacious smile. He knew exactly how to win over his mother when needed. A hug, a kiss behind or on the neck and a comment about her "good cooking" surely won her over on his side. David looked exactly like his father, except thirty years younger. Even their voices were similar and hard to distinguish on the phone. David was our only son as well as an only child.

David accomplished many things in his short life of 25 years. Many of these will stand with the sands of time. One thing that will never fade is his "Twinkling eyes and vivacious smile" from his mother's and father's memory.

On April 18, 1995, Geoffrey K. Ferguson shot and killed 5 young men between the ages of 20 to 25. This was done execution style. Then he set 4 of the five bodies ablaze and burned them beyond recognition. The fifth victim fell over a spiral staircase backwards and landed outside the blaze. Our son, David, was one of the 4 victims whose body was burned beyond recognition. The cause of this was a power struggle between the landlord Geoffrey Ferguson and 3 of the tenants. David was not one of his tenants.

It took over three years for the trial to begin, but in April of 1998, Geoffrey Ferguson was found guilty of 5 counts of murder, 2 counts of capital felony and 2 counts of arson. He received life without parole, then 20 years for arson and 25 years for the other arson. He is in a high security level 4 prison for the remainder of his life.

Geoffrey Ferguson has a history of violence and had several lesser offenses against him prior to the murders. This crime took place in Connecticut, in the town of Redding. It happened at the same time as the Oklahoma bombing.

We miss our son every day as well as the other 4 victims whom were like "sons" to us as well!


back to 18

David Gartell