Drifter Ruled Sane During Slaying
Sep. 29, 1999
VISTA, Calif. (AP) _ A jury on Tuesday rejected a drifter's claim that hallucinogenic drugs had made him insane when he killed 9-year-old boy in a beach restroom last year.
Brandon Wilson, 21, admitted killing the boy but had pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. He would have been sent to a state mental hospital if the jury ruled he was insane.
Now the panel will hear testimony on whether he should get the death penalty or life in prison.
The defense said Wilson is a delusional manic-depressive who believed God chose him as ``an agent for destruction of mankind.'' Wilson testified that LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms led him to that belief.
The prosecution pointed to Wilson's videotaped confession two days after the slaying, in which he made no mention of hearing God but said he killed for the thrill of it.
Using a settlement payment of about $17,000 from an auto accident, Wilson left his home in St. Croix, Wis., and traveled for nearly two years through the West, ending up at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in eastern San Diego County last November.
After taking a few hits of LSD, ``I realized there was a part of myself that was evil, that God had put it there and he had put it there for a reason,'' Wilson said.
He then traveled 100 miles to Oceanside, north of San Diego, checked into a motel and searched for a victim. He spotted Matthew Cecchi, who was visiting the beach while attending a family reunion, and followed him into the restroom.
Wilson slit the boy's throat with a knife and left him to bleed to death while his aunt waited for him outside the door.
Wilson was captured in Hollywood the next day after stabbing a woman on the street. She survived.