Christmas Day murder suspect feared evil government conspiracy
January 31, 2012
The Atascadero man who allegedly shot and killed two sisters in Santa Margarita in 2010 thought they were military leaders in an evil government conspiracy against the world, a forensic psychiatrist testified Monday. [Tribune]
During the first day of Andrew Downs’ trial, Dr. Charles Scott said Downs, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was insane when he killed sisters Beverly Reilly and Kathy Yeager in Santa Margarita on Christmas Day 2010. Downs, 21, is also accused of stealing three vehicles, entering a second home in Santa Margarita and beating a man with a crescent wrench.
Scott testified that Downs’ well-documented history of mental illness includes episodes in 2010 where Downs was “found outside his home naked, sleeping in a barn, telling friends that aliens had started to kill people and families, telling people that half of Atascadero was dead and saying that the end of the world was coming,” the Tribune said.
If Judge John Trice determines Downs was insane at the time of the killings, he will be committed to a state mental health facility. If not, Downs could be sentenced to state prison.