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Defense Rests In Attias Case

The defense has rested its case in the Santa Barbara murder trial of a college student accused of killing four pedestrians and critically injuring another with his car. Closing arguments in the trial of 20-year-old David Attias of Santa Monica are to begin Monday. The final witness for the defense, trying to prove Attias was legally insane, was a psychiatrist. He testified the defendant has one of the most well-documented case histories of psychological problems that he had ever seen. If he is found guilty, the case moves into a sanity phase, where jurors will consider whether the young man knew the difference between right and wrong.

The final defense witness was University of California, San Francisco psychiatrist Pablo Stewart. He said he interviewed Attias eight days after the deaths on a crowded street near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus in February of last year, and interviewed him again nine months later. He described Attias during the first interview as twitching, unable to sit down, claiming he played basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers and was friends with big-known rap singers. The psychiastrist said nine months later and heavily medicated with an anti-psychotic drug, Attais told him he was driving around the off-campus area looking for a party. He said Attias told him he recalled the sensation of his car careening into parked cars, and a feeling his arms and legs were not connected to his body.

The defense claims that driving into the pedestrians could be the end result of a pattern of increasingly disturbing behavior by Attias, after he stopped taking medication for a psychological disorder.