Christmas Day murderer ruled legally insane

February 7, 2012

Andrew Downs

A San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge ruled that Andrew Downs was legally insane when he shot and killed two sisters in Santa Margarita on Christmas Day in 2010. [Tribune]

During Downs’ trial, doctors for both the defense and the prosecution testified the defendant, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was insane when he killed sisters Beverly Reilly and Kathy Yeager. The doctors testified that at the time of the murders Downs, 21, believed there was a government takeover in progress that involved the police and aliens.

Judge John Trice’s insanity ruling means Downs will be sent to a state mental health facility for an indeterminate amount of time, possibly the rest of his life.

“Andrew Downs did not ask for this,” Trice said. “It was a terrible, terrible tragic event.”



  1. smartmouth says:

    Can you imagine what his life must be like? Can you imagine not knowing reality from delusion and believing you are in imminent danger? What would you do? Fight back? Fight to stay alive?

    (-3) 11 Total Votes - 4 up - 7 down
  2. Vagabond says:

    The long shadow of Reagan.

    (-3) 17 Total Votes - 7 up - 10 down
    • Maxfusion says:

      Leftie lie #2,945. Reagan consolidated the institutions into fewer, larger facilities.

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

        Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts. If you want to know why there are more crazy people and vagrants out in society now, here are the seeds of fruition.

        (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
        • Slowerfaster says:

          Yes. California was first to open the gates to the asylums, as per Reagan’s edict. Other states quickly followed suit, when they had REPUBLICAN governors and do-nothing legislators.
          Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin was another denier of reality.
          Course, most of the mentally ill do not go out and murder innocent people. They just can’t take care of themselves and end up in snowbanks or the like.
          For the majority of the UNCARING, UNTHINKING Republicans …they find this to be a good thing.
          ONLY when it becomes PERSONAL …when some family member has some affliction, do they decide it is important to have attention. If these Republicans DON’T have this kind of unique experience, they just don’t care.

          (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
          • hotgrandma says:

            We certainly need much more mental health care — especially in San Luis Obispo County. Some of the blame must also go to advocates for the rights of mental health patients who have made it almost impossible to force treatment and medication on those who need it. There needs to be a balance. The whole situation with Andrew breaks my heart for him but more for the family and friends of the victms and for Andrew’s family. So many things could have been done to prevent this horrible event.

            (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      @Vagabond, thanks for the link, it was very informative, really good. Everyone should read it.

      (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
  3. Spirit Filled says:

    These are the people they send to Atascadero mental ward. Those guards don’t make enough.

    (3) 11 Total Votes - 7 up - 4 down
  4. easymoney says:

    IMHO, this sicko should do some hands on therapy like making big rocks into little rocks, even someone insane should be able to handle this…
    And it is a sorry excuse for what he did. He obviously had enough sense and inteligence to gather the killing weapon, get out to the location by himself and murder in cold blood two innocent people who just wanting to celebrate the hoilday season.

    (11) 23 Total Votes - 17 up - 6 down
  5. 0112358 says:

    Quote from article: “Andrew Downs did not ask for this,” Trice said. “It was a terrible, terrible tragic event.”

    Did Kathy, Bev, Dennis, and their family “ask for this”? So much for justice.

    (14) 24 Total Votes - 19 up - 5 down
    • willie says:


      In contrast to Downs
      I knew a very good kid (Daniel) on anti-psychotic meds.
      Meds or dose were ineffective, he still kept hearing voices telling him to do bad things
      His father, a very good mentor, constantly taught and reinforced his efforts to ween out the voices
      He died from overdose of medication (I was not aware that anti-psychotic can kill)
      As I have known Dave, he struck me as a person who defy any influences to hurt anyone
      I believe he overdosed not to commit suicide (in his own mind) but as a means of fighting off the voices to do harm to others.

      My perspective on people like Downs are split between paranoid homocidal or suicidal/ Schizophrenic homocidal or suicidal, I see Downs as homocidal.

      Not guilty by reason of insanity seems to be based on the fact that a person is incapable of any intent but the “reality” of his plan, approach and delivery to killing is seems in conflict.

      I also compare Downs to the Arizona insane killer of a senator, people and children, insane or not, he pointed the gun at the head (headshot) and child of his victims.

      And what of serial killers, should law declare them as insane as well?

      I compare them all to Daniels and others like Daniel in contrast, and as you feel, I don’t know what to feel when I think of the victims.

      (-10) 12 Total Votes - 1 up - 11 down
      • willie says:


        As I have known Dave (I meant Daniel), he struck me as a person who defy any influences to hurt anyone

        (-7) 9 Total Votes - 1 up - 8 down
    • hotgrandma says:

      I am so sorry for the anguish of the family. This remark certainly seems inappropriate and unfeeling for the victims. Did anyone(defense attorney, Downs family or DA) apologize for their suffering? I can only hope other families and mental health professionals look at all the steps that could have been taken to avoid all of this needless horror. We need more and more realistic mental health care.

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

    I think the ruling was as good a call that can be made in such a tragic situation. I am more than convinced that the kid is insane. I don’t like the fact that two good people lost their life’s from this but I also hearing what the kid was thinking, don’t think he had even the slightest grasp of reality.

    Hopefully they can work with him thoughout the rest of his life to keep him in a stable state and maybe he someday can comprehend the tragic results that his disease can lead to. More important maybe others that are thinking of not getting help for this or take medication will think twice.

    (7) 17 Total Votes - 12 up - 5 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      I agree. I know this is going to sound cruel and it would never fly but I feel that they should take guys like this that will never be able to contribute in a positive way to society and use them as guinea pigs (sort of speak). They should be doing what ever they can do to prevent these types of crimes from happening again, they can do that by testing and examining guys like this. Of course I don’t mean torturing them or causing unnecessary pain. Try experimental drugs on him bring in experts on schizophrenia and have them do the experiments and testing that might help others in the future. Try the meds or/and surgeries that have been successful on mice. The only reason that I would even think of such a thing is that if doing something like this on him or other people in prison that have committed such crimes prevents even one death then it’s worth it. Let the researchers/doctors do their thing.

      (-14) 22 Total Votes - 4 up - 18 down
      • Ugluk says:

        Fascinating. Josef Mengele had the same idea.

        (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
        • Typoqueen says:

          I know, it sounds terrible that’s why I hesitate saying it. I knew that I would risk such names as the JM cr@p. I really didn’t mean to torture or hurt anyone but there must be some way to prevent these hideous crimes from happening again and the only way that I can think of is to closely examine those that suffer from schizophrenia. We can perform humane studies but we can’t force people to partake in them and usually people that suffer from schizophrenia aren’t very cooperative. I feel that is possible to perform human studies on people like this. Perhaps offer them some type of prison perk for partaking in the studies such as a nicer cell with a stereo, I’m being a bit over the top but we should always try and come up with solutions to prevent crimes such as these. I understand that it’s a crazy idea and it would never happen, and who knows perhaps someone like JM might get in there and repeat history. It’s just a thought, not necessarily a great one but that bad either.

          (-13) 19 Total Votes - 3 up - 16 down
          • Ugluk says:

            Yeah, it’s that bad. You’re talking about experiments using HUMAN BEINGS as guinea pigs (your words! What sort of reaction did you expect?

            Good grief!

            (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
            • Typoqueen says:

              From you,, I don’t really care.

              (-11) 17 Total Votes - 3 up - 14 down
          • William says:

            It’s easy to attract ad hominems just for having an idea on the table. It maybe really does lead to a slippery slope but rather than making the too-easy, too-obvious put-down, let’s see these clowns come-up with something helpful.

            (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
      • Maxfusion says:

        Would you feel the same way about a woman?

        (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
        • Typoqueen says:

          OMG this is so silly. Maxie, what are you driving at? I was simply trying to come up with ideas that might prevent such a heinous crime. This guy brutally murdered a couple of women, wouldn’t it be a positive step to try and prevent such things rather than just lock him until he dies and then wait for the next person inflicted with schizophrenia to kill more people? To me it seems like there must be a cure out there for this, I hope that they find it soon.

          Thanks William, I realize that my idea was over the top. My only mistake was hoping to get some intelligent discussion to gain some interesting ideas that might prevent these types of crimes. Look at the mother in SLO that was recently killed by her son, just in this little community we’ve seen such tragedy due to schizophrenia. I’m sure the families of people that suffer from this would agree that we need to find a cure.

          (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
          • jackbnimble says:

            This guy and the man in SLO who killed his mother recently are both examples of crimes committed by schizophrenics (as you point out), but this doesn’t mean that all schizophrenics commit such heinous crimes. These made the news (rightfully so) because of how awful, extreme, and tragic they were. But there are many diagnosed schizophrenics walking around this county right now who are not killing people. You may have grown up with one of them, or live near one of them, or work with one of them and not even know it. There is lot of research being conducted on schizophrenia by trained scientists who are following established research methods, ethical guidelines, and human-participant review boards. Offering up a nice jail cell with a stereo probably wouldn’t do much for someone who, by definition, has lost touch with reality. Let the trained scientists do their work.

            (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
            • Typoqueen says:

              I know that not all people with schizophrenia murder people but I’m sure that they would like a cure for it.

              I really didn’t mean to sound like we should be doing horrible things to prisoners, I’d be the first one to say no. I just meant that we know how hard it is to get things approved such as experimental meds. Even well trained scientists can’t use meds on people unless they go through a long lengthy process and even then many times those drugs get denied. Like I said, if it’s safe on mice, the properties of the drug are well understood and qualified researchers think that it’s worth it then maybe,,, I do understand that this isn’t in reality a doable thing. I think what came to my mind was the movie Awakening. If I remember correctly in real life they wouldn’t approve that drug for that use because it was indicated for something else. If you saw that movie then you remember how a drug (I believe it was dopamine) that wasn’t even used for the what these patients had worked very well.

              Obviously this is an area that needs a lot of work. It’s been so much in our local spot light it seems like we could do more to help these people, as you said not just the ones that kill people, even those that don’t kill people have a very difficult time with it. I’m sure I’ll get more cr@p for this.

              (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down

Comments are closed.