An Atascadero man who claims he was insane when he murdered his neighbor had not shown signs of schizophrenia for four years prior to the murder and five months afterward, a prosecutor told jurors Monday.
But a key defense witness said Mark Andrews, 51, had been suffering from the same delusion — that he was a werewolf — for 20 years.
“He believed he was killing a demon and not a person,” testified Carolyn Murphy, a forensic psychologist. “And there was no other motivation for the crime.”
After a jury determined last week that Andrews did kill Colleen Barga-Milbury, 52, in May 2013, Andrews’ trial entered a new stage to determine whether he was legally insane at the time.
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Defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu has said that Andrews believed he was a werewolf and that the voice of God told him to kill Barga-Milbury, who Andrews believed was a vampire.
But Deputy District Attorney Matt Kraut, in his opening statement, told jurors there is no evidence that Andrews was psychotic or delusional when he shot Barga-Milbury two times.
Just hours after the murder, Kraut said, Andrews used a debit card to purchase beer from a Circle K in Atascadero. Also, the prosecutor added, Andrews didn’t exhibit delusional or psychotic symptoms when he spoke to investigators or a television reporter in the hours and days that followed.
As investigators were seeking a suspect, a reporter from KCOY interviewed Andrews as a neighbor. During that interview, according to Kraut, Andrews said whoever killed Barga-Milbury was an “animalistic bastard” — which proves, the prosecutor said, that Andrews “appreciated the moral wrongfulness of the murder.”
But delusional people suffering from mental illness, Murphy said, don’t always show outward symptoms of their illness and can perform normal functions, such as purchasing beer. Even with medication, she said, a person can have delusions.
Andrews, who has been hospitalized numerous times for mental illness, has consistently believed he was a werewolf, Murphy said.
“There’s a documented 20-year history of that same delusion,” she said.
After the murder, Murphy said, Andrews did not expect to wind up in jail. He thought, she said, he was saving humanity, as the voice of God had ordered.
“He felt that God had abandoned him,” she said.
After the shooting, Kraut said, Andrews left the victim’s home, placed the gun used in the shooting in a cabinet and lied to investigators and the TV reporter about being involved in the crime.
“Don’t you think it’s hard to accept that he was insane at the time of the murder and drove to Circle K within hours to buy himself some beer?” Kraut asked Murphy.
She said, “No.”
“There was nothing to indicate that he was cured of his delusions as of that date,” she testified later.