It took jurors a little more than two hours Tuesday to declare Fredrick Germonto guilty of killing and robbing an 85-year-old Salt Lake man in January 1989.
Germonto showed no emotion when the 3rd District Court jury announced they had found him guilty of second-degree murder, robbery and forgery in connection with the beating death of Gilbert T. Lisonbee.Germonto, 27, testified that he killed Lisonbee in self-defense after the man became upset with him, wielded a knife, sliced his hand with it and then pushed him to the ground.
"Would a reasonable person believe that a 26-year-old man is afraid of an 85-year-old man? I think not," said prosecutor Greg Bown, who told the jury Germonto had fabricated his entire defense.
"He didn't even talk about self-defense until four months ago. Up until then, (the murder) was a whodunit," he said. "He didn't even tell his attorney."
Bown called Germonto an "intelligent man" who fabricated his testimony of self-defense eight months after he was arrested and after he had a chance to read and analyze the police reports. Germonto, who attended college at age 14, "fashioned a story he thought covered the bases," he said.
The prosecutor reminded the jury that he had shown them evidence that Lisonbee had arthritis and likely couldn't have even held the knife in his hands. Bown then rubbed his hand along the blade of the knife and said it was too dull to cut anything and could not have sliced the defendant's hand.
Germonto testified he must have killed Lisonbee when he was in the man's Salt Lake home on Jan. 9, 1989, but he could not remember actually doing it.
"He cannot explain 25 blows to the head with three or four weapons. He can't explain ransacking the home for valuables . . . He chose not to remember," said Bown.