In the delusional world of schizophrenic murder suspect Antone Richard Aubrey IV, he could do no wrong.
Therefore, psychologist Dr. Martin Williams testified today during Aubrey’s trial, shooting his sister to death didn’t signify to him what it would signify to a rational person.
“Killing, in his mind,” Williams said under cross-examination by Deputy District Attorney Candace Myers, “did not mean to him what it does to us.”
Williams, the second psychologist to testify in the trial, believes Aubrey was legally insane when he shot Angel Louise Aubrey in the face with a sawed-off shotgun in February 2018. The first doctor to testify was Dr. Andrew Renouf, whose opinion was that Aubrey was not insane and was capable of understanding the nature and quality of his act and distinguishing the difference between right and wrong.
Williams, however, said in Aubrey’s distorted view of reality “everything he did was right and appropriate and should not have been done any other way. He was supposed to get away with anything.”
While sane people believe death is permanent, he said, that was not the case for Aubrey.
Prosecutor Myers pressed Williams repeatedly with questions about Aubrey’s statements and actions before and after the shooting. But Williams maintained the only relevant factor was his state of mind when he pulled the trigger.
Myers pointed out that if Aubrey didn’t think the killing was wrong, why did he tell detectives after his arrest that he was going to bring his sister back to life?
“Yes, it makes no sense,” Williams said. “Why kill someone when you have to bring them back later?”
Aubrey believed he was receiving commands from all-powerful, all-knowing spirits, Williams said, so “the decision to kill her was not Mr. Aubrey’s; it was dictated to him … he’s receiving orders.”
Was Williams bothered by Aubrey’s statement to detectives that his sister deserved to die?
“No, not at all,” Williams said. “In his mind everything he did was correct, so the victim deserved it and he deserved to get away with it.”
He said that to Aubrey in his delusional state, “the whole world of law enforcement was a trivial world that would be taken care of by spiritual forces. Matters such as law enforcement would be of trivial import.”
Myers pointed out that Aubrey checked his gun to make sure it was loaded before he fired. He also struggled to hold onto the weapon afterward.
“He’s living on a different plane of existence,” Williams responded. “Things he does that mean something to us may mean nothing to him.”
Asked whether he’d considered Aubrey’s statement that he and his sister were arguing, he said yes.
“I considered it but I did not believe it made much of a difference,” Williams said. “I’m thinking ’So what?’ the overwhelming factor was spiritual mandates.”
During his interview with detectives four days after the killing, Aubrey “vacillated between remembering aspects of the crime and not remembering,” the prosecutor noted.
“If there is significance to that it escapes me,” Williams responded.
He was not concerned that Aubrey may have been lying or trying to “game” the system during his psychological evaluation, as Dr. Renouf said he suspected.
“It has no bearing on the condition of his frame of mind at the time of the crime,” Williams said.
Because Aubrey waived his right to a jury trial, Judge Christopher Wilson will decide whether Aubrey is guilty, and if he was legally insane at the time of the crime. Wilson had a question for Williams at the end of the day today. The judge noted that during his interviews with law enforcement, Aubrey “steadfastly refused” to answer questions about two subjects: his sister’s killing and his possession of a firearm.
“Is there any significance in that relating to consciousness of guilt or consciousness of wrongdoing?” the judge asked.
“Once he was in custody,” Williams answered, “he may have begun to recognize he was in trouble.”
The trial is expected to resume Friday morning with testimony from a third psychologist, Dr. Mikel Matto. Myers indicated today Matto agrees with Renouf that Aubrey was not legally insane at the time of the crime.
Renouf and Matto were both court-appointed, while Williams was hired by the defense.
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