Atascadero State Hospital murder suspect confessed to killing patient, investigator says

mfountain@thetribunenews.comJune 3, 2014 

Adam Paul Cary, 34, a patient at Atascadero State Hospital, was arrested Wednesday, May 28, 2014, on suspicion of murder. Original story »

The patient suspected of killing another patient in his Atascadero State Hospital dormitory room allegedly confessed to the crime, according to a report filed with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Adam Paul Cary, 34, will be psychologically evaluated to determine whether he is fit to stand trial, a judge ruled Monday at Cary’s arraignment.

Cary was assigned a public defender, who immediately declared a competency doubt — meaning that he doubts Cary’s competency to stand trial. San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Richard Curtis ordered Cary to undergo a psychological evaluation by two doctors, who are scheduled to file reports June 23.

Cary was arrested May 28 on suspicion of murder after an attack occurred in his patient dorm about 2:18 p.m., and hospital staff found a critically injured patient in the room, according to a spokesman for the California Department of State Hospitals. The patient, who officials have not identified, was pronounced dead at Atascadero State Hospital’s medical treatment center.

An employee was also allegedly injured in the incident and taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

On Thursday, Casey Neall, an investigator for the county District Attorney’s Office, filed a report confirming that the victim, who shared a room with Cary, was strangled.

According to the report, Neall interviewed a psychiatrist at the hospital who said that he checked on Cary in his dorm and found him lying on top of the victim, with the victim’s face in his own pillow. The psychiatrist reported Cary had the victim in a chokehold and was strangling him.

When the psychiatrist yelled at Cary to get off the victim, Cary complied and walked over to his own bed to sit down, according to the report.

Staff members began to perform life-saving measures on the victim while other staff members detained Cary.

Cary agreed to speak with Neall and allegedly admitted to strangling the victim in an attempt to kill him as he slept, according to the investigator’s report.

Cary remained in custody Tuesday evening at County Jail.

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