Judge throws out Atascadero murder confession

February 10, 2015

justiceA San Luis Obispo judge nullified the murder confession of an Atascadero man, ruling that police detectives violated the suspect’s Miranda rights. [Tribune]

Mark Andrews, 51, is accused of killing his neighbor Colleen Marie Barga-Millbury, 52, in May 2013. He has pleaded not guilty by way of insanity and is now standing trial for murder.

Leading up to trial, prosecutors had a taped confession of Andrews admitting to Atascadero police detectives that he shot Barga-Millbury in the gut. But, defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu argued that the video should be thrown out of court because detectives did not honor Andrews’ right to remain silent.

Judge John Trice approved of Funke-Bilu’s request on Monday, one day prior to opening statements.

Court transcripts indicate that during an approximately three-hour interview, Andrews told police that he was finished talking and wanted to go home and that it was his right to do so. The detectives continued to question him, though, and Andrews eventually confessed.

A prosecutor argued that Andrews’ request to stop talking was a momentary expression of frustration, not him exercising the right to remain silent. The district attorney’s office also alleged that Andrews was not in custody at the time, but Trice said he was in custody and that he did invoke his right to remain silent.

During the confession, Andrews said he shot Barga-Millbury because he felt an evil coming from her and he believed that she was a vampire. Andrews previously received a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and he told police that he was not taking his medication at the time of the shooting.

On the day of the shooting, Andrews allegedly drove to Millbury’s house and shot her twice with a rifle. The first shot hit her abdomen and the second struck her head.


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8 Comments

  1. Shmed says:

    Colleen was my supervisor years ago.

    And her mother was a co worker that I got along with very well.

    Myself and Colleen clashed. But she wasn’t stupid and understood the mentally ill as good or better than most of us.

    That is whats scary.

    That and unsecured mental health facilities where I live.

    And the amount of California mental people that get put on a one way plane ride my way.

    And that is causing big time grief for everyone.

    This needs addressing.

    Rest in peace Colleen and Linda.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. slowtime says:

    This is not so bad. They would have not gotten a confession if they stopped talking with him. Now if he testifies on his own behalf, these statements CAN be used to impeach his testimony.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. Rambunctious says:

    “During the confession, Andrews said he shot Barga-Millbury because he felt an evil coming from her and he believed that she was a vampire. Andrews previously received a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and he told police that he was not taking his medication at the time of the shooting.”

    That’s okay judge we will get him next time….

    (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  4. joseywales says:

    The judge said to officer dippyshyt “dont piss down my back and tell me its raining:”

    (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
  5. Mariposa says:

    It’s disappointing how many times law enforcement continue step right over an individual’s Miranda rights. Since 1966, we’ve heard it time and again. In order for people who have committed heinous crimes to be fully prosecuted, our law enforcement personnel cannot violate their Miranda rights. Shouldn’t have happened in this instance.

    (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
  6. NorCoMod says:

    Knowing Judge Trice well, I can only imagine how much he hated to approve this request. He’s a stickler for the rule of law and we’re a better society for people like John.
    LEO needs to get it right, maybe this is a reminder.

    (14) 20 Total Votes - 17 up - 3 down
  7. Kevin Rice says:

    I appreciate what Judge Trice did here.

    (16) 22 Total Votes - 19 up - 3 down
    • Stunned says:

      When a judge see’s something so blatant I’ve always wondered if he brings a few “heads” together to discuss law 101. Funke would have eaten this alive on appeal anyhow and still might say his rights were trampled on (they were) but, in the end a murderer gets life and a family loses a member.

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

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