This article published in The Orlando Sentinel on Aug. 24, 2017.
By Gal Tziperman Lotan
Glenn Ferguson was sure he was going to die by the hands of a former co-worker, surrounded by people who came to Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure park on New Year’s Day 2016. He was not going to survive, he said. He was certain of it.
“I’m gonna die,” said Ferguson, a caricature artist at the park, taking the witness stand Wednesday in the former co-worker’s trial. “Nobody’s gonna help me. I’m gonna die, and everybody’s gonna watch.”
Fredrick Torres, 35, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, accused of stabbing Ferguson with scissors. The attack was captured on video. His defense attorneys are arguing that it was not premeditated, but committed spontaneously because Torres was upset. He shook his head during parts of Ferguson’s testimony but did not speak.
The attack left Ferguson with a stutter, bouts of shaking and a long surgical scar that stretches back from his left temple. The blades of the scissors went 5 inches into his skull and reached 3 inches into his brain, he said.
His service dog, Gracie, sat with him on the witness stand and climbed into his lap so he could hug her.
Ferguson’s original plan for that day was to watch football at a friend’s house, he said. But on Dec. 29, 2015, Torres showed up for his shift a few hours late and acted rude and dismissive when Ferguson talked to him about it, he said Wednesday.
The owner of the caricaturing business where the two worked, Anthony Fasen, said he emailed Torres the afternoon of Dec. 31. Torres wasn’t officially fired, but he was no longer on the schedule and his future shifts were canceled, Fasen said. He emailed a human resources employee at Universal to ask for Torres’ ID card to be deactivated.
Ferguson was opening the booth when he saw Torres walking up and said he felt “a little anxious.”
Ferguson called Fasen, who then called Torres. As the call went on, Torres seemed to get angrier, Fasen said.
“I’m going to kill your No. 1 artist,” Torres said, according to Fasen. “I’m gonna slit his throat.”
Ferguson couldn’t hear what Torres was saying, but he could hear his tone, he said. Torres got off the phone and walked back to the caricature stand.
“Well, I’m fired,” he said, according to Ferguson.
Ferguson said he tried to calm him down. But Torres was not listening, he said.
“If I’m fired,” he said, according to Ferguson, “you call Tony and figure this out, or you call 911.”
Torres went into his artist’s toolbox and grabbed a pair of scissors, which he held carefully. “Like a dagger,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson grabbed his phone to try to call Fasen and started walking away. Torres came after him, he said.
“He started running after me, and I started getting really terrified. I can’t outrun him; he’s a marathon runner,” Ferguson said. “What do I do? How can I get myself out of this situation?”
He fled, looking for a place to get away — a security guard, anyone who could help him — he said. Torres chased him.
Ferguson found a security guard, who apparently thought he and Torres were kidding around and did not immediately stop Torres. Only after another Universal employee approached him and said she thought the fight was real did he walk over and stand between them.
They stood there for a few minutes, surrounded by park-goers, with Torres staring Ferguson down. The security guard looked down at his radio for a moment.
“He just pounced, and [was] pushing and shoving repeatedly, as fast as he could move his arm,” Ferguson said, miming a series of forceful punches.
A prosecutor played cellphone video of the attack filmed by a park-goer. Ferguson winced, covering his ears, as the jury heard carnival music and saw Ferguson being pummeled.
Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected Thursday.