Experts split on sanity of Atascadero man accused of killing neighbor

Psychiatric witnesses disagree on whether Atascadero man was insane at time of killing

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comMay 13, 2014 

Mark Alan Andrews, shown in court May 30, 2013, is charged with murder in the shooting death of his Atascadero neighbor.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Psychiatric experts disagree on whether an Atascadero man was insane when he allegedly shot a neighbor, according to reports submitted to the court, setting the stage for a battle of experts at the accused killer’s trial.

Mark Andrews, 50, has entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity in the killing of Colleen Barga-Milbury, 52, who was found shot to death at her home May 22.

After Andrews’ attorney announced his plans to pursue an insanity defense, Superior Court Judge John Trice ordered evaluations performed by two separate psychiatric experts. Defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu then commissioned a third expert.

Two of the experts suggested Andrews was not sane at the time of the shooting. A third suggested he was.

According to court records, Andrews told police he felt an “evil” feeling coming from Barga-Milbury, who lived nearby, so he drove to her home with a loaded gun. Andrews knocked on her door, and when she opened, Barga-Milbury, a former food service employee at Atascadero State Hospital, was shot twice.

Her 15-year-old son was not home at the time of the shooting.

With a split in evaluations, a trial would likely feature contradictory testimony from the psychiatric witnesses, who will discuss Andrews’ past.

In 2009, Andrews called police, complaining a different neighbor was a vampire who had molested him. That neighbor said Andrews had left a small mound of dirt or flour on her doorstep numerous times and had once beat on her door, though she didn’t answer.

After police responded to his call, Andrews was taken to county Mental Health Services, though court records do not reveal what happened after that. Because he is pursuing an insanity defense, however, that information probably will surface during his trial.

Andrews allegedly told police in the past that he suffered from schizophrenia.

The day after Barga-Milbury was shot to death, Andrews sat outside the home he shares with his mother as police investigated the crime scene. When a KCOY reporter approached to ask about the crime, not knowing who had committed the shooting, Andrews said the killer had to be an “animalistic person,” according to KCOY’s story.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service