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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Sherman Oaks

Naked Intruder Found Not Guilty

May 17, 2000|CAITLIN LIU

Claiming temporary insanity, a Laguna Hills college student who broke into a Sherman Oaks couple's home and stood naked over the wife as she slept was found not guilty Tuesday of burglary and attempted rape.

Christopher Ames, 20, testified during the two-day bench trial before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathryne Ann Stoltz that he suffered from religious delusions and believed that the end of the world was near, according to attorneys on both sides.

"It's a thing that just happens to some people, that they have a psychotic break," said Ames' attorney, Harland Braun.

Ames had driven 100 miles from Orange County and picked out the home at random, Braun said. The husband woke up and confronted Ames, who jumped out a glass window and ran away.

Ames was later arrested, bleeding from cuts, by LAPD officers.

Two court-appointed psychiatrists and another psychiatrist hired by his defense all agreed that the man, who was 19 at the time of the June 1999 break-in, suffered from temporary insanity.

Deputy Dist. Atty. David W. Stout said that Ames had "holes in his story" and made inconsistent statements, including telling one psychiatrist he thought he was the antichrist and then testifying in court that he believed he was the messiah.

The judge ultimately found that Ames did not harbor the necessary criminal intent for the crimes and thus did not have to rule on the insanity issue.

"She believed his story that it was not his intent to rape but to procreate before the end of the world," Stout said.

Ames, who attorneys said had no history of mental illness, is now on a medication regimen that Stoltz on Tuesday urged him to continue.

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