David Attias, far left, with defense attorney Jack Earley, far right | Credit: Ryan P. Cruz

On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Adams denied David Attias’s petition to legally restore his sanity and free him from the conditional release program he has been in for the last 10 years. Writing in his ruling that although he “applauds the restorative strides” and personal development of Attias — who was committed to Patton State Hospital for 10 years after plowing his car through a busy Isla Vista street in 2001, ultimately killing five people — he “should continue with this treatment/support program at CONREP,” the conditional release program he was released into in 2012 that requires him to attend regular therapy and group sessions and to be subject to random drug tests and at-home visits.

Adams noted that for various reasons, Attias has not yet achieved the transitional level of care with CONREP, which would be needed before eventually being discharged from the program. “Mr. Attias is at the ‘supportive level’ of treatment,” Adams wrote, “and has maintained at said level for some period of time.” Attias’s attorney still has the opportunity to appeal the ruling.

The decision comes a few days after witness testimony concluded in the trial, which began in February, nearly 21 years to the day after the killing spree. Attias filed his petition, with defense attorney Jack Earley building the case that Attias has not presented any symptoms of his bipolar disorder for two decades and alleging that the restrictions of his program are holding him back from job opportunities and other areas of his personal life.

On the final day of testimony, Deputy District Attorney Maggie Charles called the psychologist who is currently working with Attias through CONREP in Ventura County, Linh Chi. She corroborated what the other CONREP clinicians had testified, that although Attias had made progress and showed an effort to acknowledge his stressors and triggers, he was not nearly ready for a full restoration of sanity.

In court, Attias himself testified to having a difficult personality, which “ruffled feathers sometimes.” When describing a confrontation with a coworker that led to him being transferred to another store, Attias claimed that he “didn’t like her tone of voice.”

Prosecutor Charles started her closing arguments by reading the five names of his victims: Nick Bourdakis, Chris Divis, Elie Israel, Ruth Levy, and Bert Levy, whose injuries sustained in the crash ultimately killed him years later.

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