Cruz County Superior Court No. F22711, Honorable Timothy R.
Volkmann Trial Judge
Rachel Clark Under Appointment by the Sixth District
Appellate Program Attorney for Defendant and Appellant.
D. Harris Attorney General of California Gerald A. Engler
Chief Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey M. Laurence Senior
Assistant Attorney General Seth K. Schalit Supervising Deputy
Attorney General Victoria Ratnikova Deputy Attorney General
Attorneys for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Charles Anthony Edwards appeals from a judgment entered after
a jury found him guilty of first degree murder (Pen. Code,
§ 187, subd. (a)) and found that he personally used a
deadly weapon (§ 12022, subd. (b)(1)). The jury also
found that defendant was sane at the time of the murder. On
appeal, defendant challenges the sanity finding. We hold that
the trial court did not err when it allowed the prosecutor to
impeach expert witnesses during the sanity phase with
defendant's suppressed statements. The judgment is
Statement of Facts
midday on May 7, 2012, defendant attacked Shannon Collins, a
woman whom he did not know, as she was walking on Broadway in
Santa Cruz. He stabbed her neck and torso 12 times. While
Collins bled to death, defendant dropped his jacket and his
knife near her body. He nonchalantly walked away and threw
his blood-stained shirt into a garbage can. Shortly
thereafter, defendant was arrested a few blocks away from the
crime scene. Defendant had blood spatter on his hands, head,
was calm and cooperative during the in-field showups, which
occurred about an hour after the offense. Defendant was then
transported to a hospital for evidence collection procedures
during which he was also cooperative. About one and a half
hours later, he was transported to the police station where
he coherently provided biographical data to the police
presented evidence of his extensive history of mental
illness. His symptoms included hallucinations, paranoid
thoughts, extreme mood fluctuations, and chronically
aggressive behavior. Defendant had been given various
diagnoses, including schizoaffective disorder bipolar type,
schizophrenia, a psychotic disorder not otherwise specified,
antisocial personality disorder, and polysubstance abuse.
Defendant had engaged in 15 or 16 incidents of violent
behavior between 1991 and 2002, many of which were related to
his mental illness. Defendant was involuntarily medicated
eight times between 1994 and 2011. He met the criteria for
the mentally disordered offender program in 1999, 2000, 2002,
and 2011. Defendant had no insight into his mental illness
and he frequently did not take his medications.
Jeffrey Gould, a psychiatrist, reviewed documentary evidence
and met with defendant. In October 2014, defendant told Dr.
Gould that he was hearing voices that told him he was a
“liar, ” a “slouch, ” and a
“piece of shit” on May 7, 2012. The voices began
when he woke up that morning and became louder and louder
during the day. According to defendant, “the voices
were coming from two skeletons that were on the sides of
head, ” and they told him to kill Collins as he stabbed
her. Defendant told Dr. Gould that society was against him,
and if he remained on the street he would be killed.
Defendant believed that if he killed someone, he would be
safe and would join the Illuminati cults. Defendant also
claimed that the skeletons told him that if he killed
someone, he would be free. Jail records, which included a
daily account of defendant's behavior and mental
condition after the incident, indicated to Dr. Gould that he
was suffering from a psychotic disorder. Dr. Gould diagnosed
defendant with schizophrenia. Dr. Gould opined that
defendant's psychological disorder impaired his knowledge
of the moral wrongfulness of his conduct. Defendant's
delusions caused him to believe that killing Collins was
morally right, and he was saving himself from death and
persecution. On cross-examination, Dr. Gould acknowledged
that he did not consider defendant's interview with the
police on May 7, 2012, in reaching his opinion. When Dr.
Gould wrote his report, he also did not have the statements
that defendant made to Drs. Mark Burdick and Jonathan French,
prosecution expert witnesses. Dr. Gould conceded that
defendant's statements to the police, Dr. Burdick, Dr.
French, and to him were inconsistent, thus raising concerns
regarding which version was valid.
Gould reviewed the video of defendant's statement to the
police in which he did not mention the presence of skeletons,
anyone telling him what to do, or the Illuminati. Dr. Gould
believed that the statement that defendant gave to the police
was likely to be the most reliable because it was made
closest in time to the murder. Defendant told the police that
he had planned to kill a woman because he was frustrated that
women did not give him enough attention. He explained that
“corrupt” men, men who weighed 300 pounds, and
drug dealers received attention from women, but he did not.
Defendant stated that he could not take it anymore, and he
decided to kill a woman. Defendant also stated that he
specifically stabbed Collins twice in the neck first. Dr.
Gould conceded that defendant's statement that he would
not have killed a teenager or a woman with a child was a
moral decision. Defendant told the police that he knew what
he did was wrong, that he was going to go to court, and that
he would probably receive a life sentence. Defendant stated
that he felt bad about what he had done, but he would have
felt worse if Collins had had a husband or children.
Defendant wrote a letter in the interview room in which he
characterized what he did as an awful crime.
Gould observed that defendant was logical, coherent, and did
not mention any psychotic symptoms during the police
interview. Defendant's description of events
“sounds like someone who is very antisocial and not
suffering from other mental illness....” Based on the
police interview, Dr. Gould opined that defendant understood
the nature of his act and knew legal and moral right from
wrong at the time of the murder. However, Dr. Gould did not
know whether defendant's statements to the police or to
him were more reliable.
John Greene, a psychiatrist, testified that he evaluated
defendant twice in December 2014 and twice in January 2015.
Defendant told him that he was experiencing hallucinations
and delusions prior to his arrest for murder and described
symptoms similar to those that he had described to Dr. Gould.
He visualized skeletons on either side of him telling him to
kill or he would be killed. Defendant also suffered the
delusion that there was a plot against him and that he needed
to retaliate. Defendant believed that his life would no
longer be in danger after he stabbed Collins. Defendant told
Dr. Greene that he ran out of medication after he was
released from Atascadero State Hospital in 2012 and was
unable to obtain more medication. Defendant had a difficult
time providing a rational account of events, which Dr. Greene
interpreted to mean that he was “quite psychotic”
at the time of the crime.
Greene noted that there was evidence of psychosis in
defendant's interview with the police when he referred
repeatedly to the plot against him. When defendant was
talking about the crime, he used the words “plot”
and “plotting against me” 14 times. Defendant
also made three references to being part of a mission and two
references regarding his belief that God was instructing him.
On cross-examination, Dr. Greene conceded that
defendant's statements to the police were linear when he
gave his narrative about the crime. But Dr. Greene pointed
out that many of defendant's medical records showed that
he could be lucid and linear when he was psychotic. He noted
that when defendant was left alone in the interview room, he
was talking to himself for 10 minutes, which indicated that
he was likely having auditory hallucinations. It appeared to
Dr. Greene that defendant was suffering from delusions and
hallucinations during the interview, which meant that he
suffered from those delusions and hallucinations when the
crime was committed. Dr. Greene also believed that defendant
was trying to hide ...