Four years before today's early-morning madman** massacre at a Colorado movie theater, Orange County suffered its own bizarre, violent theater attack by a 25-year-old Anaheim man high on psychedelic mushrooms and booze and carrying a large knife and hammer.
On Feb. 24, 2008, Steven Walter Robinson–who was obsessed with serial killers and death–walked into a Fullerton AMC Theater, watched horror movie The Signal and, during a particularly violent scene, began attacking other movie watchers.
Though there were serious injuries, nobody was killed.
Robinson's 2009 trial, watched him get convicted of attempted murder
counts and saw him get sentenced to a prison term of 22 years to life.
appealed, claiming the judge had failed to properly instruct the
jury on the defense: He lacked murderous intent because he'd been
hallucinating on the mushrooms when he thought he received an
instruction from the movie to kill.
In 2011, a California Court of Appeal agreed that the judge cheated Robinson of his constitutional right to a fair trial.
A new trial is currently scheduled to begin Sept. 11 in Orange County Superior Court.
Here are links to my prior coverage of the movie attacks (in chronological order):
—Jury Tells 'The Signal' Attacker Steven Walter Robinson to Go to Hell, (Oct. 15, 2009);
–AMC Theater Horror Movie Attacker Gets The Slammer, (Dec. 11, 2009);
–Man Who Attacked Theatergoers at Horror Movie Wins Appeal, (Feb. 15, 2011).
**James Eagan Holmes, the 24-year-old man police are holding in the Colorado movie massacre, is from San Diego and graduated with honors from the University of California at Riverside in 2010.
In remarks made late this morning, UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White expressed “profound sadness” about the shooting.
Given Holmes' proximity to Fullerton during the 2008 AMC attacks, you have to wonder if he knew of the case through news reports.
Though his conviction was reversed, Robinson–now 28–remains locked inside California State Prison at Centinela, according to state prison records.