Mar 22, 2011 1:47 PM by Bethany Tucker, KSBY News

Christmas Day double murder suspect declared mentally competent to stand trial

Based on documents provided by doctors, a San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge has determined Andrew Downs mentally competent to stand trial in the Christmas Day murders of two women.

Judge John Trice made the ruling in court Tuesday morning.

Downs is accused of murdering Kathy Yeager and Beverly Reilly in Santa Margarita on Christmas Day 2010. Downs has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges stemming from those alleged crimes.

Originally two doctors had been appointed to evaluate the 20-year-old's mental health. Those doctors came back with mixed findings back in January, and a third doctor was appointed to the case. On March 3rd, Downs's attorney requested more time to review the third doctor's report, but the findings were never released to the public. Then Tuesday, a judge issued his ruling that Downs is mentally competent to stand trial.

At the time of his arrest, officers say Downs told them he suffers from schizophrenia.

The prosecution also announced Tuesday it will not seek the death penalty against Downs.

Downs is due in court again for a pre-preliminary hearing on April 26th. His preliminary hearing is then set for April 29th.

Stick with KSBY News at 5 and 6 for more on this story.


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