Crime

Witnesses testify Atascadero man was sane during killing

Mark Andrews, left, was in court Feb. 6 for a murder trial in the shooting death of his neighbor, Colleen Barga-Milbury. At right is his attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu.
Mark Andrews, left, was in court Feb. 6 for a murder trial in the shooting death of his neighbor, Colleen Barga-Milbury. At right is his attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

At times Mark Andrews has believed he was married to a she-wolf named Shanine Edwards, lived through medieval times and witnessed people burned at the stake, according to court testimony.

Yet, prosecution witnesses say, Andrews was not legally insane when he killed a neighbor he claimed was an evil vampire.

“I think he has these delusional ideas that come and go and maybe have expanded over time,” forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie told a jury Thursday.

When Andrews killed Atascadero resident Colleen Barga-Milbury in 2013, Mohandie said, his actions before and after the shooting showed he knew what he was doing and knew it was wrong.

“It was organized. It was purposeful,” he said, adding Andrews’ actions show a “criminal presence of mind.”

Andrews, 51, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder by reason of insanity. Two psychiatric witnesses for the defense believe he was insane when he shot his neighbor, while two prosecution psychiatric witnesses believe he wasn’t.

Since 2011, there have been four insanity murder trials in San Luis Obispo County. Only one defendant was declared legally insane.

Both defense witnesses say Andrews has had consistent delusions, including a belief that he is a werewolf. Much of the week’s testimony has detailed some of those delusions.

When interviewed by Mohandie last November, Andrews said he has been a werewolf since he was a child.

“When I was 3 years old, I looked into a car window in my parents’ driveway, and I saw my face turn into a werewolf,” he told Mohandie, according to the witness’s reports.

During interviews with Mohandie and Brandi Mathews, another forensic psychologist testifying for the prosecution, he said that he had fathered several wolf cubs with a she-wolf, had received messages from TV and radio, and had been murdered and cannibalized.

Andrews was reported to have equally outlandish delusions in 1996 and 2009, when he was sent to psychiatric hospitals.

“Patient believes that a werewolf consumes evil,” read a hospital report from 1996, read in court. “He has special powers to hold the world in his hands and protect it from evil.”

“But I also have a dark side,” Andrews told hospital staff in 1996, “which is to produce hell on earth.”

When Mathews interviewed Andrews at the jail, she testified earlier this week, it was clear he was delusional within the first five minutes. During that interview, Andrews said Barga-Milbury was evil.

“When I asked him about that, he said that Colleen was eating his dreams and vomiting them or defecating them into the toilet,” Mathews testified.

Both prosecution witnesses have said they think Andrews has had delusions. But while defense witnesses think the delusions are constant, the prosecution witnesses disagree.

“He wasn't making those statements at the time of the offense,” Mathews said, noting people with mental illness can experience more symptoms in a stressful environment like jail.

When he committed the crime, Mohandie said, Andrews made sure his mother wasn’t home, drove a car 100 yards so no one would see the gun, returned the rifle to a cabinet, and later lied to detectives and a TV reporter about being involved.

“There were efforts to avoid detection,” Mohandie said, “which shows that he knows what’s going on.”

The day after the murder, Andrews told a KCOY reporter interviewing neighbors that the person responsible was an “animalistic bastard.”

“In his efforts to throw the attention off of himself, he knows what he needs to say to other people to sound convincing,” Mohandie said.

Three days after the murder, Andrews told his mother in a jailhouse conversation that he wanted to be executed.

That comment, Mohandie said, showed his actions were “deserving of consequences.”

Under state law, defendants are legally insane if they do not understand what they did or if they don’t know that it was wrong — a burden the defense must prove.

Defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu said he believes Andrews was just as delusional during the murder as he was during his hospital visits.

When police drove Andrews to the police station two days after the murder, according to an audio recording played for jurors, Andrews told investigators he'd lived in Medieval times and had witnessed burning at the stake and beheadings.

“I think it’s highly likely that he had some psychotic symptoms” at the time of the murder, Mohandie said.

Yet, Mohandie added, a person can have symptoms of mental illness and still know right from wrong.

Mathews said it’s clear when Andrews is in a psychotic state. During those times he talks to himself, makes delusional statements and becomes agitated, she said.

“If he was acutely symptomatic (during the murder), it would have been evident quite quickly,” she said.

During his opening statement, Funke-Bilu said Andrews had no motive to kill — other than his belief that he was a werewolf instructed by God.

“There were no known conflicts between Ms. Barga-Milbury and my client,” he said.

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