Judge finds alleged junkyard shooter not competent to stand trial
June 23, 2010
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.