Santa Barbara man who allegedly murdered his kids in Mexico deemed incompetent

October 16, 2023

Matthew Taylor Coleman

A federal judge in San Diego ruled on Thursday that the Santa Barbara surf instructor who allegedly killed his children in Mexico is not competent to stand trial. [Union-Tribune]

Matthew Taylor Coleman, 42, previously confessed to killing his children because he believed they were going to grow into monsters. Coleman shot and killed his children with a spearfishing gun, according to the FBI.

On Aug. 7, 2021, Coleman stopped packing for a family trip and abruptly drove his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter to Rosarito, Mexico. Two days later, he drove to Rancho El Descanso, pulled off the road, killed the children and then moved the bodies about 30 feet and hid them in some brush, according to an FBI affidavit.

After he was detained at the U.S. border, Coleman told the FBI he knew what he did was wrong, but needed to save the world.

“Coleman explained that he was enlightened by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories and was receiving visions and signs that his wife possessed serpent DNA and had passed it on to his children,” according to the affidavit.

In Sept. 2021, federal prosecutors indicted Coleman. The Santa Barbara man pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering U.S. nationals on foreign soil. 

Earlier this year, prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty against Coleman. 

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo determined Coleman is not competent to stand trial. Bencivengo’s ruling is sealed, but a docket entry in the case indicated the judge ordered Coleman be committed for treatment and set his next competency hearing for March 2024. 

Coleman must now go to a secure federal medical facility, where doctors will attempt to restore his competency.

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The competency that needs to be restored is that of the Judge and D.A. This monster commits the most heinous crime imageable and the issue is competency??? WTF!!! He deserves no less than the death penalty not a holiday at the competency restoration lodge.