ASH drops deranged man in Paso Robles

August 6, 2013
Charles Edwards

Charles Edwards

A parolee deemed too dangerous for release because of mental illness was dropped at a bus stop in Paso Robles, the result of a clerical error that led to the death of a Santa Cruz woman. [LATimes]

In May 2012, an Atascadero State Hospital employee drove Charles Anthony Edwards, 44, to Paso Robles where he was told to take a bus to the San Francisco. Shortly afterwards, he made his way to Santa Cruz where prosecutors say he brutally stabbed a popular shop owner to death on a busy sidewalk.

On Monday, Edwards was transported to a Santa Cruz County Courtroom where a judge will determine if he is legally competent to stand trial.

On May 7, officers responded to a 911 call and found Shannon Collins with her right carotid artery and jugular vein slashed and Edwards splattered with her blood. Edwards is a diagnosed schizophrenic with a history of violence dating to age 13.

Officials at Atascadero State Hospital had classified Edwards as a mentally disordered offender deemed too dangerous for release due to active mental illness. Nevertheless, in September 2011, Atascadero State Hospital officials sent Edwards to a highly monitored conditional-release program in Manteca.

After just one week, Edwards begged to be sent back to the hospital because he believed he could not make it on the outside, records and interviews revealed. State correction officials agreed with Edwards and sent him back to Atascadero State Hospital.

However, the Atascadero staffer admitting Edwards into the hospital made a clerical error placing the date for his mandatory one-year parole review into the system incorrectly. The deadline came and went without a review.

Hospital officials then decided they could no longer legally hold Edwards and had a staffer drive him to a bus stop in Paso Robles. Edwards took the bus to San Francisco and then he drifted to Santa Cruz where he stayed in a homeless shelter.

On May 7, after being holed up in the shelter reading the Bible and muttering to himself for about four days, he attacked Collins who was walking to the hair dresser for an appointment.

Collins’ husband Kenneth Vinson has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Corrections as well as the Atascadero State Hospitals, alleging that officials “knew that Edwards continued to suffer from a severe mental disorder during the period of his parole.”

The state attorney general’s office is battling to have the lawsuit thrown out, citing government immunity from liability.



Here is another case of HOW IN THE HELL do you rehabilitate someone who has these kind of mental problems. ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN!!! LEAVE THEM LOCKED UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And stop all the Recreation Therapy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Mental Therapy, Substance Therapy, etc. All these therapies at the State Hospital is waste. All these folks just bleed the taxpayers. Read the Tribune today that nice article on the Substance Therapy Centers in California bleeding millions and everyone in power knew. Where is the accountability for the State.


how about the mayor of San Diego?

peggy sue

Not many stories make me cry, but this one did. This is such a horrible story for everyone involved. Since I am in mental health, I realize these folks are human, and with schizophrenia most are unaware they have the gene for it until the perfect storm triggers it. It must have been agony for this individual to be on the outside and even worse for a person to be brutally attacked like that. It most certainly must have caused a case or two of PTSD in the witnesses, as it was brutal and shocking also. I just cannot bring myself to do finger pointing today–I can only say this is a sadly heartbreaking world we live in when it comes to mental illness and how it is handled.


When did we become a society whereby the public employees/politicians became superior to the private employee. We make mistakes and the rules and regulations, police and politicians are over us with fines, penalties, arrest, closures and lost of everything. Government employees make mistakes and they tell us to stick it, take the 5th, continue to draw their pay and retire with our money. It is time to end all this nonsense and make these employees accountable for their behavior. Start sending some of their asses to jail, fire and take their retirement and see how fast they shape up. Not even the State employer will take responsibility for their actions. What a bunch of losers and I see in the Sacramento Bee where they are getting a big raise thanks to Brown. Yea, reward bad behavior so we can get more of it. We vote for tax increases which help pay for these raises, we should be allowed to vote if they deserve it.


Is there no checks and balances for the criminally insane? Are you kidding? the Director/Manager needs to held accountable!


maybe that was the Director/Manager


We need accountability! Those responsible should lose their jobs, their pensions and be liable for damages due to professional incompetence!


“The state attorney general’s office is battling to have the lawsuit thrown out, citing government immunity from liability” Carte Blanche A




And they will be at work for the next 20+ years when these “best of the best” public employees retire at 55 and continue to receive the same salary from a system that’s broke and feeds from the taxpayers


The “state system” is structured in such a way, that there is little or no personal accountability if and when a wrong doing occurs..Do you know how difficult it is to fire a state employee? It damn near takes an act of congress. The joke among state employees that you have to get caught @#$&*(% the governor’s wife to actually get fired.

Given that sense of security, there is no need worry if you screw up…chances are you’ll be promoted.

It’s a broken system, wrought with waste fraud and abuse. Mind you, not ALL state employees are not worthy of the salaries they are afforded, just most of them.


WOW….. I guess it’s just another, all too common example of the best and brightest doing theirs “yobs”.

My condolences to the family, friends and loved ones. Sorry that the best and brightest are immune from their careless errors, it’s past time that people working for the public sector are held personally responsible just like those in the private sector would be.

Old Salt

And For: “The rest of the STORY”…

Most likely the Atascadero State Hospital Psychologists believed they had cured / rehabilitated him…!!!