Antone Richard Aubrey IV was insane when he shot and killed his sister outside the Hoopa gas station in February 2018, Judge Christopher Wilson ruled this morning.
Wilson found Aubrey, 32, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 33-year-old Angel Louse Aubrey. But he said Antone Aubrey, a schizophrenic, was incapable of understanding the distinction between right and wrong.
The judge said in reviewing Aubrey’s two videotaped interviews with law enforcement, it was clear that while he may have understood what he did, he didn’t think it was wrong.
While speaking with detectives, Aubrey seemed to realize that as a felon he couldn’t legally have a firearm, “and he wasn’t going to talk about it,” Wilson said, indicating Aubrey knew that was somehow forbidden.
“When it came to the issue of him having killed his sister,” the judge said, “frankly, he didn’t believe that he did. And he also suffered under the delusion, I suppose, that she wasn’t dead or that he had some capacity to resuscitate her or bring her back from whatever had happened to her. He just wasn’t able to accept (her death).”
During the trial, there was much discussion about “command hallucinations,” during which Aubrey believed spirits were ordering him to commit certain acts. Wilson said he didn’t give much credence to that.
“The problem with that particular theory is that Mr. Aubrey didn’t discuss what his thought processes were,” the judge said. “If I were to make a finding that the murder was a product of a command hallucination, then I’d have to essentially speculate as to what his mindset was.”
As to the degree of murder, Wilson said Deputy District Attorney Candace Myers made a strong argument that Aubrey committed first-degree murder, deliberate and premeditated.
Wilson said some facts do support a verdict of first-degree murder, specifically that when Aubrey went to the Hoopa gas station and mini-mart he had a sawed-off shotgun in the sleeve of his jacket.
“But I think that any premeditation and deliberation is diminished by the fact that he didn’t come there even to meet his sister,” Wilson said.
According to eyewitnesses, the brother and sister began a conversation that started out well.
“And then in some fashion,” Wilson said, “it turned into something that resulted in her essential execution.”
Wilson explained why he found Aubrey was capable of understanding the nature and quality of his act, a finding that led to his verdict of second-degree murder.
Aubrey came to the scene with a sawed-off shotgun in his jacket sleeve, the judge noted. And he checked the shotgun to make sure it was operable and loaded “before he then fired that weapon point-blank into his sister’s face.”
Also, after the shooting Aubrey got into a wrestling match with a witness who was trying to take his shotgun away. Then he walked away, not making it far before he was arrested.
Three doctors evaluated Aubrey testified during the trial. Dr. Andrew Renouf believed Aubrey was sane when he killed his sister. Dr. Mikel Matto split his opinion, finding Aubrey understood the nature and quality of his act but could not distinguish right from wrong. And Dr. Martin Williams’s opinion was that Aubrey could neither understand his act nor tell the difference between right and wrong.
Wilson noted, however, that all three “overwhelmingly” agreed Aubrey suffers from severe schizophrenia.
Aubrey will now be referred to Conrep, a state agency that will decide how he should be medically treated and where he should be placed. The Conrep report is due Aug. 12.
Angel Louise Aubrey was a single mother of five children. Right before Antone shot her, she told him “You’re my little brother and I love you.”
Aubrey is represented by attorney Russ Clanton.
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