Psychologists split over Atascadero killer’s sanity

March 5, 2015
Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews

Psychologists disagree over whether an Atascadero man was legally sane when he killed his neighbor. [KSBY]

Last week, a San Luis Obispo County jury found Mark Andrews, 51, guilty of first degree murder. Andrews shot and killed Colleen Barga-Millbury, 52, in 2013 and has since used an insanity plea in his defense.

Andrews’ trial is currently in a second phase in which jurors will rule on his sanity at the time of the murder. Thus far, three psychologists have testified, with two concluding he was insane and one saying that he was sane.

A fourth psychologist will testify Thursday and will likely state that Andrews was sane at the time of the killing. Both of the psychologists called by the defense have ruled Andrews insane, while the psychologist called by the prosecution on Wednesday said he was sane at the time of the murder.

In her explanation of Andrews’ sanity, forensic psychologist Brandi Mathews cited a recording produced after the murder in which Andrews told his mother that he knew what he did was wrong. Mathews also testified that she did not believe God was commanding Matthews to kill Barga-Milbury.

If that was the case, he would not have tried to hide the crime, Mathews said.

Andrew’s attorney Ilan Funke Bilu has argued that the defendant believed he was a werewolf and Barga-Milbury was a vampire. God commanded Andrews to kill the vampire, Funke-Bilu told jurors.

Andrews has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is believed to have suffered from the disease for the past 20 years.

fishing village

So sad, who can protect us from neighbors who have mental problems? We all should know who we are living near. I feel so bad for the woman who was killed.


Yes, and even more so, the young son she leaves behind.


Which one flew over the cookoo’s nest?


The inconsistency in Andrews defense is that if he really believed he was a werewolf, he would have tried to eat the victim; and if he truly believed she was a vampire, he would have used a stake instead of a gun.

He could still be crazy though.


Psychologists who are paid by the defense will give evidence of his insanity. Is this a surprise?


No more than that psychologists selected by the prosecution claiming he was sane. I think that he is at least a little insane — the question is to what degree.

This is the type of guy who belongs in an institution for the safety of society. While a mental institution would probably be better, putting him in a prison makes prosecutors look good when they run for office. But either way, if he can’t keep his demons under control with medication after 20 years, he needs to be off the streets.


The recording sounds pretty damning. Anyone who takes another’s life has to be a little insane at the time it happened. The question is whether they are legally insane. Interesting challenge for the jurors on this one.