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DURAN COULD FACE LIFE TERM FOR SHOOTING AT WHITE HOUSE

A man convicted of trying to kill President Clinton by firing more than two dozen bullets at the White House faces life in prison after jurors rejected arguments he was insane when he opened fire Oct. 29.

A federal jury convicted Francisco Martin Duran of attempted assassination Tuesday.According to defense attorneys, Duran was a paranoid schizophrenic who thought he had been chosen to shoot and kill an evil "mist" that had hovered over the White House for 1,000 years.

Prosecutor Eric Dubelier ridiculed the defense's case as "preposterous" and accused Duran of lying to therapists about hallucinating and hearing imaginary voices.

And six expert witnesses - four psychiatrists and two psychologists - disagreed on whether Duran was so mentally ill he did not realize the wrongfulness of his actions.

Duran, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colo., faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Charles Richey scheduled sentencing for June 29.

"Clearly Mr. Duran knew what he was doing was wrong," Assistant U.S. Attorney Brenda J. Johnson told reporters after the verdict was announced. "He wrote things down. He planned this out. He wasn't crazy. . . . It was deliberate and premeditated."

Defense attorneys and jurors - 10 women and two men - declined comment.

After deliberating nearly five hours, jurors convicted Duran of one count of attempted assassination, one count of damaging federal property, four counts of assaulting Secret Service officers, one count of unlawful possession of a rifle in interstate commerce, one count of unlawful possession of a shotgun in interstate commerce, one count of carrying a weapon during a crime of violence and one count of carrying a firearm across state lines with the intent to murder the president.

Psychiatrists testifying for the defense said Duran left his wife, a 5-year-old son he dearly loved and a good job as a hotel upholsterer Sept. 30 after suffering a string of hallucinations.

During those visions, a multicolored alien being told him the "mist" was taking over Clinton's mind and would lead the president to destroy the world, they said.

Duran's mental condition apparently began deteriorating during the 21/2 years he was imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for drunken driving and intentionally running down a women with his car while stationed in Hawaii as an Army medic, they said. Duran was dishonorably discharged because of the incident.