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Santa Barbara 'angel of death' released from hospital

September 4, 2012 |  6:10 pm

AttiasA Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge has ordered the release from a state hospital of a former UC Santa Barbara student who killed four pedestrians and severely injured a fifth when he plowed his car into an Isla Vista crowd in 2001.

Three months after David Attias asked to be freed from Patton State Hospital, Judge Thomas Adams agreed that he no longer posed a threat to society.  He had been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

When Attias struck the pedestrians, he screamed that he was the "angel of death." Patton therapists testified at a June hearing that intensive therapy and medication had helped him sufficiently to allow his release to a less-restrictive but highly-supervised facility.

His attorney, Deedrea Edgar of the Santa Barbara County public defender's office, said Tuesday that it was unclear in which state-run facility he would reside.  Under the terms of the release, she said, he'll be supervised around the clock. He has not sought and does not intend to seek reinstatement of his driver's license, she said.

Abby Pollak, the mother of Elie Israel, one of the pedestrians who was killed, said she was "profoundly disappointed" with the ruling.


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-- Steve Chawkins 

Photo: David Edward Attias, then 18, sits in a holding cell in 2001 in Superior Court in Santa Barbara. Credit: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara News Press