Third doctor appointed to test competency of accused Christmas Day killer Andrew Downs

A judge appointed a third doctor Tuesday to evaluate Andrew Downs’ mental competency to stand trial in his murder case.

Downs, 20, is accused of shooting and killing two women in Santa Margarita on Christmas Day and breaking into a man’s home in Atascadero and assaulting him with a wrench.

Two doctors already have examined Downs – who has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic – and one determined that he was competent to stand trial while another found he was not competent.

Downs is scheduled to return to San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Feb. 24 at 8:30 a.m. in Judge John Trice’s courtroom for a report on the third doctor’s findings.

Mental competency is based on whether defendants can understand the nature of the charges against them and assist in their own defenses.

-Nick Wilson