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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Murder Suspect Claims|He Was Hunting Vampires

SAN LUIS OBISPO (CN) - Convinced that the "spirit of the wolf" was inside of him, Mark Andrews left piles of dirt and flour on a neighbor's porch in 2009, his attorney said, hoping to humiliate what he believed was a vampire living inside.

Four years later, Andrews allegedly believed a different neighbor was a vampire. And when he knocked on that door, Colleen Barga-Millbury - unlike the first neighbor - made the mistake of opening it.

Andrews, 51, is on trial in San Luis Obispo County, accused of fatally shooting 52-year-old Barga-Milbury two times with a lever-action .30-30 rifle.

While he has a documented 20-year history of believing he is a werewolf and has been committed to psychiatric hospitals numerous times, the standard for proving an insanity defense in California may make it difficult for him to avoid prison time.

"The defendant was not delusional or psychotic on the day of the murder," deputy district attorney Matt Kraut told jurors this week. He said that Andrews knew that what he did was wrong.

But Andrews' attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu told jurors that aside from mental illness, Andrews had no motive to kill his neighbor.

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

Police were dispatched to Barga-Milbury's Atascadero home on May 22, 2013. Hours after she was shot, her 15-year-old son, who has autism, found her lying just inside the entrance to their home.

"Wake up, Mom!" the boy pleaded, according to witness Russell Moore, who gave the boy a ride home when Barga-Milbury failed to show up at her son's school.

Investigators interviewed several neighbors, including Andrews, who lived with his mother.

Andrews did not seem psychotic or delusional, investigators testified. Hours after the murder, they later learned, he bought beer at a local convenience store.

The day after the shooting, as investigators scoured Barga-Milbury's home for evidence, a television reporter seeking to interview neighbors approached Andrews, as he sat outside his home on a plastic chair.

The person responsible, he told KCOY-TV reporter Leah Masuda, was an "animalistic bastard."

"I'm just at a loss of words right now," he told Masuda in the broadcast report. "I don't know what to say."

"We were friends for a short while," he added. "She was friendly, courteous, outgoing, active."

Police did not have any suspects until they got a tip from a caller who said Andrews was mentally ill.

Investigators returned to Andrews, when he told them he had guns in his home, they asked for permission to search the house. In his bedroom they found a stocked rifle cabinet, spent shell casings and a nutcracker doll.

Investigators had seen several nutcracker dolls in Barga-Milbury's home. Wayne Drew, Barga-Milbury's boyfriend, said her son collected nutcracker dolls.

Andrews was not told he was under arrest, but police asked him to ride with them to the nearby police station. While waiting in an interrogation room alone, a video camera recorded Andrews speaking to himself. A lip reader hired by the prosecution translated his lip movements, according to a court document.

"Mark, they want to help you with your struggle," he said. "They want to help you, Mark. They arrest you only to help you."


During his 3-hour interrogation, Andrews allegedly admitted that he "shot her in the gut," according to that same court document, though that confession was tossed out when Superior Court Judge John Trice ruled that detectives had violated Andrews's Miranda right by continuing to question him after he said he was done talking.

After Andrews was charged with murder, his mother was shocked to learn that he had admitted to the crime. In a jailhouse conversation three days after the shooting, recorded and played for a jury, Andrews made no mention of werewolves or vampires.

"I just want to be executed and die," he said.

For insanity cases, California uses the 172-year-old M'Naghton Rule, created by the British House of Lords. According to that rule, a defendant was legally insane at the time of the crime if he did not understand that what he was doing was wrong or could not understand the nature of the act.

Those declared legally insane in murder cases are sent to a psychiatric hospital until they are deemed treated. Those declared sane are sentenced to prison.

When speaking of insanity defenses, attorneys in San Luis Obispo frequently invoke the name of Wade McClave, another troubled man who believed he was killing vampires.

After frantically stabbing his parents to death in 1989, McClave was declared legally insane and released after nine years of treatment. The 1983 San Luis Obispo High School graduate led a quiet life for the next six years until the van he was driving crashed into the San Francisco-Bay Bridge toll plaza, killing himself and his 71-year-old passenger as they headed to an art show displaying dozens of their paintings.

While McClave's death raised questions about his verdict, attorneys are hesitant to pursue insanity defenses because the burden of proof is on the defense.

The Andrews case is the fifth insanity murder trial in San Luis Obispo County since 2012. Of the four others, only one defendant was declared legally insane.

During the guilt phase of the trial, prosecutor Kraut plans to shows jurors the TV news footage of Andrews saying the person responsible for killing Barga-Milbury was an animalistic bastard.

That shows that "he appreciated the moral wrongfulness of the murder," Kraut said.

Kraut said that Andrews was a meth and marijuana user, who drank too much beer and had not shown any signs of schizophrenia for four years before the murder and for months afterward. It wasn't until an interview with a forensic psychologist, he said, that Andrews brought up werewolves and vampires in connection with the murder.

But defense attorney Funke-Bilu said Andrews had told psychiatric experts he was a werewolf as far back as 1993, when he was first hospitalized for a psychotic episode. According to court testimony, Andrews once believed Martians were at his door and another time said he was Jesus.

In the 2009 case he called police, saying his neighbor was a vampire who had molested him. As police waited for mental health workers to arrive, according to police reports, Andrews said he heard children screaming at him. At one point he rubbed his fingers together and said, "It's happening."

Andrews has been committed more than a half dozen times. Yet though he once threatened his mother with a scalpel, guns remained in his room.

The rifles had belonged to his late father, a former psychiatric technician at the Atascadero State Hospital, who also was a gunsmith.

By law, people involuntarily committed are not allowed to have guns for five years. But in 2013, Andrews - believing God had told him to save humanity from vampires, Funke-Bilu said - grabbed a dusty rifle from the cabinet, drove to Barga-Milbury's house and shot her once in the hip and a second time in the head.

Attorney Louis Koory said he plans to refile a wrongful death suit against the defendant's mother, Carol Andrews, on behalf of Barga-Milbury's son.

If found insane, Mark Andrews could wind up less than 5 miles from his mother's home, at the Hospital that once employed his father and Barga-Milbury, who was a food services supervisor there.

First will come a battle of psychiatric experts.

Two experts, including David Fennell, medical director at the hospital, say Andrews was insane when he shot Barga-Milbury. Two other witnesses, including psychologist and frequent national news guest Kris Mohandie, will testify that Andrews was sane.

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