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Report: U.S. man guilty in ‘vampire’ bombings

Bolivia Explosions
Triston Jay Amero leaves court in La Paz in this Oct. 24, 2007, file photo. Juan Karita / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A California man who adopted the name of a fictional vampire has been sentenced to 30 years in prison without parole for killing two people in hotel bombings, the government news agency and an attorney who attended the sentencing said Wednesday.

Triston Jay Amero, 26, was convicted Tuesday of killing two people by setting off dynamite in two low-rent hotels in the Bolivian capital in 2006, according to the state's ABI news agency and Javier Albarracin, an attorney for the victims and owner of one of the bombed hotels.

Also convicted: Amero's former girlfriend, Alda Ribeiro Costa, 47, of Uruguay.

Amero has legally changed his name to Lestat Claudius de Orleans y Montevideo, said Paul Wolf, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer monitoring the case on behalf of Amero's family. The name is derived from a character in Anne Rice's vampire novels.

The Placerville man, in and out of psychiatric hospitals and juvenile prisons since he was 7 years old, has frequently threatened suicide and violence against authorities, according to court documents in the United States.

The case even intruded into U.S.-Bolivian relations.

"This American was putting bombs in hotels," President Evo Morales said shortly after Amero was arrested. "The U.S. government fights terrorism, and they send us terrorists."

That prompted protests and denials from U.S. officials, and Wolf suggested Morales' comments tainted the trial. "You have the president of the country saying this guy is guilty. That's not fair," Wolf said.

Wolf said that Amero's mother, Donna Scheda, declined to comment on the verdict.

Troubles and his travels
In his travels through South America before the bombings, Amero had described himself as a Saudi Arabian lawyer, a pagan high priest, a notary public and even a vampire.

Amero was convicted of bombing an automatic cash machine in northern Argentina before he arrived in Bolivia, where he obtained a legal license to sell dynamite.

Prison officials last year said Amero tried to attack his own attorney with a kitchen knife.

A search of his cell turned up a bottle of gasoline and Amero confessed that he planned to "set fire to the prison superintendent and the United States diplomat who visits him every now and then," prison security director Edgar Andrade told reporters.