In the horror movie The Signal, a mysterious subliminal pulse is sent out via various forms of media, turning the people who receive it crazy, and usually homicidal.
As former Weekly staff writer (turned horror movie star!) Luke Y. Thompson blogged in February 2008, the fictional movie became fact at the AMC cinemas in Fullerton.
Now, the man who was arrested for stabbing two strangers watching The Signal has been found guilty by a jury of two felony counts of attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, two felony counts of mayhem, and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury.
Steven Walter Robinson Jr., 26, of Anaheim, now faces a maximum of life in prison at his December 11 sentencing hearing at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.
The crime was bizarre even by bizarre Orange County standards.
At about 6 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2008, Robinson, who was wearing sunglasses and dark clothing into the theater at 1001 S. Lemon St., Fullerton, bought a ticket to see The Signal. A theater manager asked security to watch the man after noticing he appeared agitated and aggressive when asked to show his ticket. A guard later saw Robinson carrying a container of alcohol and asked him to put it in his car. Robinson left the theater.
Approximately 10 minutes later, he re-entered the theater, walked up to a concession cashier and asked if anyone had seen or turned in a "baggie." He was told nothing had been found.
The security guard later saw Robinson carrying an AMC cup and, suspecting it might contain alcohol, asked the patron to remove the lid to expose the contents. After being told he would not be admitted into the movie if he did not comply with security, Robinson received a refund for his ticket and left again.
A box office cashier reported to the manager that a bag containing magic mushrooms had been turned in to the box office, prompting the manager to contact Fullerton police. Some time around 7:20 p.m., they believe Robinson sneaked back into the theater. He was spotted by the security guard, who went to the lobby to inform the manager and police officers who'd arrived in response to the mushroom call.
With the responders congregated in the lobby, Robinson rose from his seat carrying a double sided knife-hammer weapon and approached Julio Sanchez, 38, who was stabbed five times in the head, arm, chest, and knee. Robinson then walked up to Eloy Uresti, 65, who was stabbed in the arm he was trying to use to shield his face.
Uresti managed to crawl away, but Robinson was in pursuit and hit the man in the head with the hammer end of his weapon as police officers--who'd seen Sanchez running through the lobby covered in blood--enter the theater. Robinson fled through an exit into the parking lot.
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Sanchez, who suffered a permanent loss of mobility in his arm, and Uresti, who sustained nerve damage, did not know Robinson before the attacks.
Robinson eventually fled to his brother's apartment in Las Vegas, where he was arrested on March 7, 2008, on a $500,000 warrant and brought back to Orange County for trial.
According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, subsequent investigation revealed Robinson possessed several books on serial killers and the torture and murder of their victims. His home computer contained MySpace postings from him to friends about killing and mass murder. His screen name: "psychokiller666."
Sounds like the makings of another horror movie.