The case of a man accused of shooting two women to death on Christmas Day has been delayed two weeks as attorneys continue to discuss whether he’s fit to stand trial.
Andrew Downs was in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday for a hearing meant to decide his mental competency to stand trial. Downs, 20, allegedly shot and killed sisters Kathy Yeager and Beverly Reilly, both of Owens Valley and in their 60s, at Santa Margarita Ranch.
In January, two doctors examined Downs, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. One psychiatrist determined that he was competent to stand trial while the other found he was not competent.
A third doctor was assigned to evaluate Downs. Thursday’s hearing on that doctor’s findings was postponed.
Prosecutor Dave Pomeroy and defense attorney Matt Guerrero agreed to reschedule the hearing to March 22.
Pomeroy said in Judge John Trice’s courtroom that he thinks both sides may come to a resolution without the third doctor weighing in on Downs’ mental state.
Mental competency is based on whether a defendant can understand the nature of the charges and assist in the defense. He is charged with two counts of murder, among other charges.
Downs appeared in court with his hair cropped close — a change from the curly locks he had at the time of his arrest. He seemed more alert and responsive to comments directed toward him in court.
Both lawyers declined to comment on the specifics of the case — only saying more time was needed to resolve the competency issue and gather additional information. They said a resolution appeared forthcoming.