Colin Ferguson punished for trying to incite a prison riot

This Dec. 9, 1994 photo shows LIRR gunman

This Dec. 9, 1994 photo shows LIRR gunman Colin Ferguson, 35, of Jamaica, during a hearing to determine if he's competent to stand trial and represent himself in Nassau County Court in Mineola. Ferguson was eventually convicted of killing six passengers and injuring 19 others after opening fire on an LIRR train. (Credit: Dick Yarwood)

Long Island Rail Road shooter Colin Ferguson, who killed six people and wounded 19 more on a train two decades ago, tried to incite a deadly prison riot in 2011, according to a court ruling.

A decision Thursday from a state appeals court in Albany found Ferguson guilty of violating prison disciplinary rules after he contested findings from state prison officials.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, an Attica prison guard reported he overheard Ferguson, now 56, speaking to other inmates.

"I encourage all inmates to riot and kill prison guards," the correction officer reported hearing Ferguson tell them.

The officer said he also heard Ferguson encouraging other inmates to use weapons to carry out the action.

Prison officials charged the convicted killer with making threats, threats of group violence and conspiring to riot, an Attica inmate misbehavior report shows.

"I'm not surprised to hear about this. He's been a troublemaker from day one," said Joyce Gorycki of Mineola, who became a gun control activist after Ferguson killed her husband, James, in the commuter rail shooting.

On Dec. 7, 1993, Ferguson, a Jamaican immigrant, opened fire on a 5:33 p.m. train from Penn Station near the Merillon Avenue station in Garden City. He got a prison sentence of at least 315 years and 8 months to life behind bars and has a 2309 parole eligibility date.

State Supreme Court Justice George Peck, who prosecuted Ferguson's case in court as an assistant district attorney, also didn't seem surprised Thursday to learn of the court's decision.

"It appears that the behavior of Colin Ferguson hasn't changed in over 20 years," he said in an interview.

The court decision said Ferguson's misbehavior report, a videotape and testimony at a hearing "provide substantial evidence to support the determination of guilt."

Prison officials penalized Ferguson by imposing a term of 18 months in a special housing unit -- which, authorities said, means 23 hours a day in solitary confinement -- along with loss of phone, package and commissary privileges.

After Ferguson appealed a disciplinary hearing decision, prison officials scaled back his special confinement to nine months. The appellate court became involved after he continued to appeal the finding.

Ferguson already has satisfied his penalty from the September 2011 incident but remains in special housing because of subsequent disciplinary problems, state correction spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.

His release from special housing is set for August, the spokeswoman said. There was no indication on his misbehavior report that his threats were linked to the 9/11 anniversary, she said.With Yancey Roy

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Follow Newsday on social media

advertisement | advertise on newsday