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Office of the District Attorney - Maggie Fleming, District Attorney
July 28, 2020
Today, Judge Christopher Wilson concluded Antone Richard Aubrey IV, age 33, had committed second-degree murder, but found him not guilty by reason of insanity.
Mr. Aubrey’s prosecution stemmed from his actions in the mid-afternoon of February 17, 2018. A conversation between the defendant and his sister Angel Aubrey behind the Hoopa Mini Mart led to violence when the defendant used a sawed-off shot gun he had concealed in his jacket to shoot his sister in the head at close range. Angel Aubrey died at the scene.
The Hoopa Valley Tribal Police detained the defendant a short distance from the scene. The ensuing investigation by Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detective Jennifer Taylor clearly established the course of events, thanks to the willingness of many community members to provide information about the incident.
A person may be found not guilty by reason of insanity if the trier of fact finds that the person, more likely than not, committed a crime when the person had a mental disease or defect and because of that disease or defect was incapable of knowing or understanding the nature and quality of their actions OR was incapable of knowing that their actions were morally or legally wrong. During the court trial, three experts offered differing opinions on Mr. Aubrey’s mental state at the time of the shooting: Dr. Andrew Renouf, a psychologist, concluded that although Mr. Aubrey was mentally ill at the time he committed the offense, he did have the ability to understand the nature and quality of his actions and to understand that they were wrong. Dr. Martin Williams, also a psychologist, testified that Mr. Aubrey was unable to understand the nature and quality of his actions and was also unable to understand that they were wrong. Dr. Mikel Matto, a clinical psychiatrist, testified that Mr. Aubrey understood the nature and quality of his actions, but could not understand that they were wrong.
The judge’s conclusion that Mr. Aubrey is not guilty by reason of insanity means he will be committed to Napa State Hospital. People committed to state mental hospitals have the right (after 6 months) to periodically apply for release on the grounds that their sanity has been restored. In one step of that process, a Humboldt County judge would determine if Mr. Aubrey would be a danger to the health and safety of others during a one-year period of supervision and treatment in the community. Following a conclusion that Mr. Aubrey did not present a danger and after one year of supervised release, an additional trial would determine whether his sanity had been restored and unconditional release should be granted. In the absence of a change in the evaluation of Mr. Aubrey’s sanity, he will remain committed to the state hospital.
Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney (DA) Candace Myers prosecuted the case with the assistance of DA Victim Witness advocate Holly Hensher and DA Investigator Martin Morris.