Richard Aubrey IV was mentally ill but not legally insane when he
allegedly shot his sister to death in February 2018, a psychologist
testified Wednesday during Aubrey’s trial on a charge of murder.
Dr. Andrew Renouf, one of three psychologists who evaluated Aubrey, said the 32-year-old Hoopa man is schizophrenic and has PTSD. But Renouf said Aubrey did not meet the criteria for legal insanity, meaning he was capable of understanding the nature and quality of his act and capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong.
opinion is that Mr. Aubrey suffers from a serious mental health
condition,” said Renouf, testifying via Zoom and under questioning
by defense attorney Russ Clanton. “But at the time of the offense
he did have the ability to distinguish right from wrong.”
also said that, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, “there was
a level of organization” to Aubrey’s behavior the day of the
shooting. Before firing his sawed-off shotgun at Angel Louise Aubrey,
“he checked his weapon to make sure it was loaded. Afterward he
wanted to retain the weapon.”
the shooting Aubrey was tackled to the ground and the gun was taken
interviewed and tested Aubrey in late May of 2019. He had also tested
him for cognitive impairment a year earlier, when he was being
evaluated for his mental competence to stand trial. The first time,
Aubrey tested at 27 on the test, within the range of normal. The
second time he tested at five. Renouf said there are two explanations
for that: either Aubrey suffered major brain damage between tests, or
he was deliberately providing wrong answers. Renouf believes the
noted Aubrey seemed to have selective memory loss. He remembered his
dorm number in the jail and what he ate for lunch, but didn’t
remember the name of the attorney who had represented him for two
years. He also said he didn’t know his sister was dead.
the day his sister was killed behind the gas station in Hoopa, Aubrey
had been hearing voices in his head for several years. The voices had
become louder and more insistent, and eventually he began
experiencing “command hallucinations,” being ordered to harm
himself or others.
however, thought the motive for Angel Aubrey’s shooting was simply
“punishment, or a desire for revenge.”
interviews with law enforcement, Aubrey was obsessed with the idea
that everybody — especially his family — had been “disrespecting”
him and his children for years. He wanted his kids back but “nobody
would vouch for me.”
his first interview with sheriff’s detectives on the day of his
arrest, Aubrey wouldn’t believe his sister was dead. If she was, he
said, he knew nothing about it.
second interview was held four days later and started out on a
similar theme. Then Aubrey abruptly changed course, saying his sister
deserved death and he should be praised for killing her. He demanded
to be released from custody.
deserve my freedom,” Aubrey told the officers. “I deserve
everybody saying ‘Right on! You did it!’ ‘’
claimed he was meant to get away with anything, “no matter what. No
got the right to kill anybody because of the program I’m in,”
Aubrey explained. “I’ve got to believe in myself. Everybody
believes in me.”
that moment, You Tube shut down the livestream from Courtroom One,
with the message “Video not available.”
“YouTube has taken us down because whatever the content is, it violates
their community guidelines,” Judge Christopher Wilson said when the
streaming returned. The rest of the interview was played with just
audio so You Tube would not be offended.
went on to describe himself as “the demolition devil,” saying his
sister deserved to die.
wish that you guys could just respect me and release me,” he told
killed Angel,” Detective Jennifer Taylor responded.
a reason behind that,” Aubrey said. “I don’t want you to bury
her; I’m going to bring her back to life.”
told him his family buried Angel.
said he didn’t plan to kill anyone else, “unless you want me
won’t, not for a minute … I want to be free so I can get my kids
back. They’re waiting for me.”
schizophrenia may be biological, Renouf testified, or could be the
result of substance abuse. As for the PTSD, that goes back to an
incident when Aubrey was 7 or 8 years old. A relative of Aubrey’s
told Renouf that Aubrey’s mother and brother were murdered in front
of him, and he hid in a closet while the killers shot up the house
“looking for survivors.”
mother Rachel and his older brother were shot dead at their home
outside Hoopa. A suspect was tried twice with no verdict, and
eventually others confessed to the killing.
trial is scheduled to resume this morning, with Clanton continuing to
question Renouf. Two other psychologists, Dr. Martin Williams and Dr.
Mikel Matto, are also ready to testify via Zoom. It remains to be
seen whether they will challenge Renouf’s opinion.
Deputy District Attorney Candace Myers is the trial prosecutor.
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