OCEANSIDE — A convicted felon accused of murdering a tourist during a robbery claims that he was out of his mind at the time of last April’s attack.
Eric Andreasen, 37, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Jan. 27 to the fatal stabbing of Katherine Parker, 56, at a shopping center parking lot in the 2400 block of East Vista Way in Oceanside on April 2.
Following the attack, witnesses said Andreasen threw the knife into the air and then laid on the ground until the police arrived.
Parker, of Lincoln County, suffered eight stab wounds to her lower torso, stomach and left side. She had been on vacation in San Diego County with her family.
Prosecutors have charged Andreasen with a capital offense because they allege the murder took place during the commission of a robbery. Because of this special circumstance allegation, Andreasen faces up to life in prison without parole or the death penalty; a decision on his potential sentence will be made at a later date by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Andreasen’s attorney, Daniel Segura, has argued that his client’s intent was not to rob the victim. In court documents, Segura stated his client “simply lashed out at a woman who had refused his requests for money as many others had done.”
Several witnesses testified Andreasen pan-handled in the shopping center’s parking lot, according to court records. Authorities believe Andreasen had been living with his parents in Oceanside at the time of the attack.
Deputy District Attorney Roy Lai said by entering an insanity plea, Andreasen’s case would consist of two phases if a jury found him guilty. In the second phase, jurors would be tasked with determining if Andreasen was insane at the time of the crime, he said.
If a jury finds Andreasen insane, he would be committed to a state mental hospital indefinitely or until a doctor finds him competent to serve his sentence, Lai said.
In August, a Superior Court judge ordered Andreasen’s case to go forward after a physician found him competent to stand trial.
Andreasen’s past criminal history includes convictions for robbery, thefts and battery. In 2005, he spent 78 days in Patton State Hospital during a criminal case.
A trial date for the case was set for Oct. 18. Andreasen remains in custody without bail.