As he sat alone in an interrogation room, where he was questioned about the killing of his neighbor, Mark Andrews tried to assure himself that everything would be OK, according to a court document.
In a May 2013 video the prosecution intends to show jurors, Andrews, 51, of Atascadero, speaks to himself on three different occasions when detectives were out of the room. During those times, the document states, Andrews mentions “voices,” refers to himself in third person and coaches himself on dealing with the detectives.
“Mark, they want to help you with your struggle,” Andrews allegedly said to himself. “They want to help you, Mark. They arrest you only to help you.”
Andrews, who once told police he suffers from schizophrenia, is on trial for murder in the death of Colleen Barga-Milbury, 52. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
In a motion hearing this week, defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu said Andrews told two psychiatric experts he believed he was a werewolf and Barga-Milbury was a vampire. After trial testimony begins Tuesday, one of those experts is expected to tell the jury that Andrews’ mental illness causes him to act impulsively under certain circumstances.
Under state law, defendants are determined to be legally insane if they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong or were unable to understand the nature and quality of their actions at the time the crime was committed.
According to court records, Andrews told detectives he felt evil coming from Barga-Milbury. So on May 22, 2013, he drove to her residence with a loaded lever-action .30-30 rifle and knocked on her door. When she answered, he “shot her in the gut,” he allegedly told detectives. Barga-Milbury was also shot in the head.
Her 15-year-old son was at school when the shooting occurred.
Andrews had previously believed a different neighbor was evil, according to court records. In 2009, he called police to complain that the other neighbor was a vampire that had molested him. The neighbor told police Andrews had been watching “Twilight” movies — about vampires — and had left small mounds of dirt or flour on her doorstep. Once he beat on her door, but she did not answer.
Andrews was taken to Mental Health Services after his 2009 call to police. But later his attention allegedly shifted to Barga-Milbury, a fellow Atascadero High School graduate who worked in food services at Atascadero State Hospital, where Andrews’ father had been a psychiatric technician.
As detectives investigated the murder scene, a KCOY reporter approached Andrews, seeking reaction from neighbors about the crime.
He said his neighbor’s death was “sad” and the culprit had to be an “animalistic” person. “We were friends for a short while,” he told the reporter. “She was friendly, courteous, outgoing, active.”
On a tip, investigators eventually turned their attention to Andrews, who was questioned for three hours.
Funke-Bilu believes much of the evidence from that interview with detectives is inadmissible because Andrews asked to stop the interview early on. A portion of video from that interview was played in court this week.
“I want to go home,” Andrews told the detectives. “I’m finished talking. I want to go home. That’s my right.”
Under the Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona, suspects can invoke their right to remain silent during interviews with law enforcement at any time to avoid making self-incriminating statements.
“It is our position that my client clearly invoked his right to remain silent,” Funke-Bilu said in court.
Opening arguments in Andrews’ trial were postponed so the District Attorney’s Office could prepare a formal response, which will be presented to the court Monday.
Meanwhile, the prosecution intends to call a deaf lip reader to the stand to interpret some of Andrews’ statements made while alone in the interrogation room. Video of those statements was shown to Alice McGill, deputy director at Norcal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing. McGill is also an attorney who depends on reading lips to communicate with others. Because Andrews’ remarks were inaudible, she will be allowed to interpret them for the jury if the video is presented as evidence.
According to a transcript filed by the prosecution, those statements include talk of “voices.”
“The voices, they can help you,” Andrews allegedly said. “You are not guilty. You are not guilty, Mark.”