Guilty on all charges.
That was the verdict of the jury that has been hearing testimony in the trial of Gregory Ulrich, the lone defendant in the violent and deadly attack at the Allina Crossroads Clinic in Buffalo on February 9th, 2021, according to KRWC.
Thursday, the 68-year-old Ulrich took the stand in his own defense, testifying from his wheelchair that his acts at the Allina Clinic stemmed from years of what his defense team called excruciating pain following surgery to help injuries he sustained in a work accident in the late 1970s. Ulrich told the jury through defense questioning that when he was denied any further prescriptions to opioid based pain medications, it began a period of months and years of requests of up to 50 doctors and health care providers for help with pain management.
Ulrich said he also sought the help of law enforcement and government officials all the way up to the White House to intervene on his behalf. Ulrich said he ultimately gave up. He testified “…I was a corpse…my life was over.” He said it was this that led to the events at the Allina Crossroads Clinic on February 9th, 2021. Ulrich answered questions from the defense about his intent, which he said was to do property damage to the building, to blow out windows and damage equipment to inform the public about what he felt was wrongful denial of pain management. He said to help send a “louder message,” he fired the handgun on health care workers, though he said he did not intend to kill anyone. Ulrich admitted that once the shooting began, he “…lost control.” He said when realized that someone may have gotten seriously hurt, he placed his 911 call.
On re-direct, Assistant County Attorney Shane Simonds forced Ulrich to stick to the main points. Under questioning, Ulrich admitted to purchasing the handgun and ammunition, as well as gathering ingredients for, and constructing the pipe bombs used in the attack. He acknowledged scheduling a ride from Trailblazer Transit to get from the Super 8 Motel in Buffalo to the Allina Crossroads Clinic, and admitted to shooting “at” Tammy Schaufler, Antonya Fransen-Pruden, Lindsay Overbay, Jennifer Gibson and Sherri Curtis. When Simonds asked if any of those individuals were armed or had any other means of defending themselves, Ulrich answered, “no.” Simonds concluded his re-direct by asking Ulrich to re-verify that he had gone back to the lobby that morning and shot out more windows, ignited bombs and placed his 911 call. Ulrich indicated that he had. Following the prosecution’s re-direct, the defense rested its case.
Judge McPherson had lengthy instructions for the jury, which was followed by closing statements in which County Attorney Brian Lutes urged jurors to find Ulrich guilty on all counts including the premeditation segments of the charges. He asked the jury to consider the intent, saying it should be a natural and probable outcome that shooting anyone in the torso has a high likelihood of resulting in death. He asked “…how dare he?” “What gives him the right to shoot innocent victims to promote his twisted cause?” Assistant Shane Simonds also took a part of the closing statement telling jurors “…Don’t think for a moment that his (Ulrich) calling 911 means he cared about the individuals who were shot.” Simonds hammered home facts that he said go completely to premeditation. Preparing everything ahead of time, the gun and ammunition purchase, making the bombs and planning out his attack. Simonds also replayed the two video segments seen earlier in the trial where Ulrich encouraged seniors wracked with pain like he is to pick up a pistol and kill as many nurses as possible.
The closing statement from defense attorney Virginia Murphrey was a longer version of her opening statement. She told the jury that while Ulrich’s grandiose actions were “horrific,” the decision he made on how to handle his distress does not make it a premeditated murder or attempted murder. She re-played the audio of Ulrich’s 911 call….identifying key elements that the defense claims shows empathy and no intent to inflict the kind of damage that resulted from his actions. Murphrey said Ulrich’s intent was to create havoc and mayhem to gain publicity to get some resolve to his medical care concerns, as well as those of anyone who may be in a similar situation.
Judge McPherson thanked the jury for its attentiveness through the many hours of testimony with some very disturbing and emotional presentations. She then dismissed four jurors who had been selected prior to the trial phase as alternates, then had final deliberation instructions for the remaining 12 jurors.
Around 7:30 PM Thursday, the press was alerted that the jury had reached a verdict, and at 8 PM, the verdict was read. Ulrich was found guilty of 1st degree premeditated murder in the death of medical assistant Lindsay Overbay, and guilty on all four counts of 1st degree premeditated attempted murder of Sherri Curtis, Antonya Fransen-Pruden, Jennifer Gibson and Tammy Schaufler, all of whom were injured in varying degrees by bullets fired by Ulrich, but ultimately survived the attack. It was the 1st degree premeditated charges that were really the only ones that were in question as the defense counsel for Ulrich basically conceded the explosives charge, 2nd degree murder charge, three 1st degree assault charges, and a 2nd degree assault with a deadly weapon charge.
Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes appeared with a number of Allina Health Care administrators, doctors, nurses and other health care workers outside the Wright County Justice Center following the reading of the verdict. Lutes said he hopes that the verdict brings at least some closure to a day of terror that reverberated throughout the city, county, state and the U-S. The conviction on the 1st degree premeditated murder charge alone carries a mandatory life in prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
Judge Catherine McPherson set Friday, June 17th at 1:30 PM for the sentencing of Ulrich. He was remanded to the custody of the Wright County Sheriff without bail.