A Santa Barbara judge has denied David Attias’ petition for restoration of sanity and unconditional release from his court-mandated supervision program.

Attias, 39, was found not guilty by reason of insanity after intentionally killing four people with his car and critically injuring another on the streets of Isla Vista in 2001.

He was sentenced to a state psychiatric hospital, and then released in 2012 to a state-run supervision program in Ventura County.

Attias petitioned the court for release from the program, and the 6-day hearing including testimony from him, his family and friends, and psychologists and psychiatrists who have evaluated and/or treated him over the years.

The conditional-release program (CONREP) clinicians testified that they do not believe he is ready to be released from the program yet.

Judge Thomas Adams presided over Attias’ criminal trial, his petition for release from Patton State Hospital, and the current petition.

Adams filed a written ruling Monday that said the court “applauds the restorative strides that Mr. Attias has made” as well as his personal development, but noted that Attias has not reached CONREP’s level of support with the fewest restrictions and supervision.

“For various reasons, Mr. Attias has not yet achieved the ‘Transitional Level’ of support with CONREP – the highest and final level of support that one can achieve before being deemed to have been restored to sanity. At the present time, Mr. Attias is at the ‘Supportive Level’ of treatment and has maintained at said level for some period of time. The ‘Supportive Level’ of treatment is the treatment phase immediately preceding the ‘Transitional Level.’

“It is the opinion of the court that Mr. Attias should continue with this treatment/support program at CONREP without prejudice to his seeking his release to the restoration of sanity at a date sometime in the future,” Adams wrote in his ruling, which Deputy District Attorney Maggie Charles shared with Noozhawk.

Attias’ attorney can appeal the ruling, Charles said. 

Jack Earley, Attias’ attorney, and Charles made closing arguments last week after six days of testimony in the hearing.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley said the office is “extremely happy” with the decision.

“I’m optimistic there will be a day where it’s in the best interest of justice for him to be released, but we really can’t move quicker than the experts tell us,” Dudley said.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com.