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February Verdicts: Lady Gaga, The Dread Pirate Roberts, And a Hate Crime for Punching a Straight Guy

From the Dread Pirate Roberts to Lady Gaga, hate crimes and murder, here are some of the most notable verdicts from February.

Most Communal Verdict: ‘Commune’ Leader Guilty of 28 Counts, Pre-meditated Murder

It took 28 convictions to seal the fate of Daniel Perez, who is facing a minimum sentence of life in prison with no shot at parole for a quarter century, according to a recent article from the Wichita Eagle.

Perez was said to have lead a “commune” in North Oliver, Kansas that was apparently inhabited by followers who believed he had mystical powers. It was in Sedgwick County District Court where Perez heard the judge call out guilty nearly 30 times, including one count of first-degree premeditated murder for drowning 26-year-old Patricia Hughes in 2003. Other charges include rape, assault, criminal sodomy and sexual exploitation of a child. Perez testified that he did not represent himself as a “seer” who could look into the future and his followers were mistaken in believing he has magical powers. He also said he was not present for Hughes' death, but the jury did not find his testimony credible.

Most Silky Verdict: ‘Pirate’ to Walk The Plank in Silk Road Case

The Dread Pirate Roberts has reached the end of the Silk Road, as the alleged illegal internet drug and contraband founder was found guilty in federal court. Ross William Ulbricht, a.k.a. the Dread Pirate Roberts, allegedly ran a multi-million marketplace to buy illegal items, according to a recent article from the Indiana Gazette.

A Manhattan federal court jury found him guilty on seven charges and Ulbricht faces a maximum of life in prison. Ulbricht was said to have promised anonymity for buyers and sellers and used encryption and bitcoins. Prosecutors said there is email evidence he was willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to kill as many as five people he identified as threats to his operation and he is awaiting trial in Baltimore for an alleged murder-for-hire plot. Ulbricht’s mother said her son is a harmless computer nerd who was framed. 

Most Hateful Verdict: Nebraska Anti-Gay Hate Crime Has a Straight Twist

Gregory Duncan was convicted of one of Nebraska's only gay-related hate crimes in a spat that involved him allegedly sucker-punching a straight man. Ryan Langenegger was on the receiving end of the slug, according to a recent article from the Omaha World-Herald.

Duncan's lawyer argued the verdict cheapens the definition of a "hate crime" based on the fact Duncan himself was not accused of uttering any anti-gay slurs (although someone with him was said to have yelled "faggot") and the man he hit was straight. Prosecutors argued Langenegger was only hit because he was with two gay men, one of which was dressed in drag, according to the story.

Duncan will be sentenced April 22, although his lawyer said he plans to appeal the decision. 

Most Musical Verdict: Who Really Turned Stefani Germanotta Into Lady Gaga?

The legal contest centered around who's responsible for thrusting Lady Gaga into stardom made its way all the way to a federal court in New Jersey, where a $7.3 million verdict was upheld in favor of songwriter Wendy Starland, according to a recent article from

Parsippany record producer Rob Fusari, who ultimately signed Stefani Germanotta, aka. Lady Gaga, sought to reduce the award granted to Starland, who spotted Germanotta during a 2006 performance in New York City. Fusari apparently asked Starland to find him a talent "you can't take your eyes off of."

Court documents show Gaga said she though the two had a verbal agreement to share proceeds stemming from the talents of the now iconic eccentric.

Most Explosive Verdict: Iowa Man Threatens to Bomb White House, Fights Cops Naked

Jeremy Hebert was found guilty of assault, among other crimes that included making threats to bomb government buildings and even kill President George H.W. Bush, who hasn't been in office for more than a decade.

He also allegedly attempted to fight police officers while naked in his Iowa home, according to a recent article from the Le Mars Sentinel. Herbert’s counsel argued he has “lost touch with reality,” is “delusional,” and incapable of understanding the magnitude of what he said. As a result of the decision, Herbert was taken to Plymouth County Jail and will be sentenced on March 27.

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