Judge finds alleged junkyard shooter not competent to stand trial

June 23, 2010

Lee Leeds

By KAREN VELIE

Judge Edward Bullard ruled Tuesday that Lee Leeds, 34, accused of murdering his father and three others during a shooting rampage at a junk yard in Santa Maria, is not competent to stand trial at this time.

Leeds, arrested in March 2008, is the son of Sharon Ostman, a homeless woman who was murdered in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Ostman’s half-naked body was found partially submerged in San Luis Obispo Creek on July 11, 2005. She had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and murdered. She was 59.

Leeds reportedly shot and killed four men, including his father, Robert Leeds, at his father’s Black Road Auto junkyard in Santa Maria on the same day a judge determined Freddie Lewis should be tried for the murder of the younger Leeds’ mother. Lewis pleaded no contest and was sentenced to life in jail.

When Robert Leeds was interviewed in 2005 by a reporter now with CalCoastNews.com regarding the Ostman murder, he lamented over the effect his ex-wife’s murder would have on their four children. He also said that Ostman and two of their children suffered from schizophrenia.

Then an instructor at Hancock College, the elder Leeds expressed frustration at not being able to force the mentally ill to undergo treatment if they have not been found to be a danger to themselves or others.

In 2008, a judge ruled Leeds, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, was not competent to stand trial and sent him to Patton State Hospital, a mental-health treatment facility in San Bernadino County.

Mental health professionals at Patton released Leeds from the hospital in March after finding him competent to stand trial. At that time, Leeds was returned to Santa Barbara County Jail. [LompocRecord]

On Tuesday, Bullard ordered Leeds sent back to Patton State Hospital.

The judge said that doctors at Patton should re-evaluate Leeds, and scheduled a hearing in the case for Sept. 23 in Bullard’s Santa Maria courtroom.

“If they find him competent, they should send him back. That’s the order,” Bullard said.

Bullard said that he believed Leeds was competent at the time he was released from Patton, but noted that they had not evaluated him since his release in March.


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7 Comments

  1. JanisJoplin says:

    We have to read your blithering abut Hurst Financial on this topic? Self centered rambling. Your life could have been worse – think about being the parent of two schizophrenic children – this Father is a saint and did the best he could in our society with a former spouse and two children with schizophrenia. Damn! Now this is a sad story.

    (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  2. Cindy says:

    What can we say? Schizophrenia is a disabling disease that crosses all boundaries. Frankly it makes no sense to have a person stand trial when they are in remission for something they did while their disease was full blown. We have no cure for this disease. WE NEED TO FIND A CURE. In the mean time, I guess if these people are found dangerous to society, we have no choice but to lock them up. Too bad there wasn’t an easier way rather than prisons but we all know what happens when we send them to a psychiatric facility. What we need is a CURE. It would be far less costly to put the funding into finding a real cause and a real cure rather than the cost we all now bare.

    (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down
    • PaulJones says:

      This is an organic disease and does cross all walks of society. Most, 98% of individuals suffering from this psychosis are harmless unless the diagnosis of paranoia is attached to the malady. That is when these afflicted believe that they are in imminent danger and attempt to protect themselves from those who are perceived to be conspiring to bring harm upon them. I don’t believe that these individuals who are truly afflicted should be imprisoned. I believe the problem of management is about the concern of those who practice malingering and a fear of redress. We do need separate institutions that are fully funded to manage the mentality ill. Our problem is that they are frequently released due to a lack of funding and again malingering. We have to get better at this while we work towards a mandate that supports the implant of systemic medications.

      (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
    • Saveslocounty says:

      Far less costly to find a cause and real cure is actually an mere speculation I am sorry to say. Research for cause and cure of mental illness is extremely expensive and rarely effective. Our best researcheres have found chemical treatments as the best option available on many disorders, but neither cause nor cure have been found. Personnally, I think the key to human disorders will be unlocked through DNA reseach with the identification of actual cause for such things as cancer, MS, Alsheimers, HIV and perhaps even mental disorders. Until then, the only option is to lock these violently ill offenders in an institution or prison to protect the community. Either way, they are seperated from society to protect others. That seems reasonable to me and proven effective.

      (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
    • justme says:

      Cure? Man, Look at Lee’s face. I would give this dude cuts in line, leave any bar he was in and move if he was living near me. I’m sure his “vibe” was the kind that makes your heart rate climb. The “cure” today would be drugs but how do you guarantee he’s always on them? If ever there was a true “born killer” he has to qualify. The father paid dearly in life and ultimately with his life. May he now rest in peace.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. cheseburger says:

    ““If they find him competent, they should send him back, to trial! That’s the order,””bout sums it up,” lord knows he is competent enough to kill, all this getting off, on a mental plea, I’m surprised OJ. didn’t pull that one one his last case. By the way of getting off, they surely let Mr. Jay Hurst Miller off, check the trib. for details on his current getaway!

    (1) 9 Total Votes - 5 up - 4 down

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