George Trepal is an American Mensan in the Central Florida Mensa group who was convicted of murder in the poisoning death of his neighbors, with whom he was fighting over such things as the playing of loud music. The poisoning took place through tainted bottles of Coca-Cola. On March 6, 1991, Trepal was sentenced to death, though this sentence has yet to be carried out. Despite the conviction, Trepal has maintained his innocence, and some Mensans have championed his cause. Trepal has continued his Mensa membership behind bars, and has written many things for Mensa newsletters from prison, including a puzzle column in the Central Florida newsletter, The Flame.
The book Poison Mind: The True Story of the Mensa Murderer-And the Policewoman Who Risked Her Life to Bring Him to Justice describes the case from the standpoint of his presumed guilt.
Mensans disputing the conviction point to prosecutors and jurors displaying ignorance and prejudice regarding Mensa during the course of his prosecution, including an exchange between a reporter and a juror where the juror referred to Mensa as a "satanic cult" and said that "I don't really know if he's guilty or not, but since he belongs to a satanic cult he deserves to die." However, Mensa officialdom has presumed his guilt since his conviction, but noted that being a criminal is not considered an "act inimical to Mensa" that would threaten one's status as a member in good standing. In Interloc, Public Information Manager Lisa Trombetta advocated that Mensa distance itself from him to "maintain Mensa's image and credibility".
Trepal had previously hosted murder mystery events in Mensa, where a fictional crime had to be solved by the attendees.
Notes and references
- Northern Lou-Men-Essence, Northern Louisiana Mensa newsletter, May 1991, Vol. XI No. 5, p. 3
- Interloc #232