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Local News

Judge Grants Conditional Release to Man Who Killed 4

David Attias, 30, was sent to a psychiatric hospital after a 2001 rampage in which he drove his speeding car down a crowded Isla Vista street

David Attias, who ran down and killed four people with his car on an Isla Vista street in 2001, was in court in May seeking to be released from a mental hospital. A judge ruled Tuesday in favor of his release. (KEYT News photo)
David Attias, who ran down and killed four people with his car on an Isla Vista street in 2001, was in court in May seeking to be released from a mental hospital. A judge ruled Tuesday in favor of his release. (KEYT News photo)

Almost three months after hearings wrapped up in the David Attias case, Superior Court Judge Thomas Adams issued a ruling Tuesday that the former UCSB student, who has been in a state psychiatric hospital for 10 years after killing four people with his vehicle, be granted conditional release and be able to live in an unlocked community outpatient program.

Attias, 30, was convicted of four counts of second-degree murder stemming from a 2001 rampage in which the then-UCSB freshman struck and killed four people and seriously injured another while speeding in his car down a crowded Isla Vista street.

The jury concluded he was legally insane, and he’s been living at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino since 2002.

On May 20 of this year, a week-long hearing began to re-evaluate Attias’ status and see if he qualified for release into the community. 

A host of staff that work with Attias at Patton were called to the stand to testify about his mental state and whether he would benefit from being in the community rather than at Patton. Attias himself even testified, and Adams eventually ruled in his favor. To read the entire ruling, scroll down.

“The David Attias that was called to testify by the prosecution was clearly not the same vacant, troubled and confused David Attias that this court became acquainted with in 2001,” Adams wrote in his ruling.

“The changes that had come about as a result of 10 years of intensive therapy and appropriate medications were apparent to the court in the presentation of testimony that was given by Mr Attias.”

Prosecutor Paula Waldman, who argued against Attias’ release, said she was disappointed with the ruling. She said that Attias’ long history of violence, drug abuse and non-compliance with psychiatric medications and therapy were the prime reasons she fought against his release.

“I believe it’s not a matter of if he will ever become violent again, but simply when and that is a chance that the public should not have to tolerate,” she said.

Superior Court Ruling on David Attias’ Release

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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