The 24-year-old man arrested last week on suspicion of killing a Napa retiree in his home was treated at Napa State Hospital and another psychiatric facility for about seven months last year after he was found unfit to stand trial on a previous assault with a deadly weapon charge, according to court documents.
Adrian Madrigal was treated by the State Department of Mental Health between March and October of last year and served subsequent time with the Napa County Department of Corrections. He was last released from custody on June 5, roughly two weeks before he is accused of stabbing 62-year-old Don Buffington to death in his Hayes Street home and fleeing in the victim’s vehicle.
During his stay at Napa State Hospital, which lasted from March 13 to June 25 2012, Madrigal escaped hospital police custody after being treated at the Queen of the Valley Medical Center. According to reports filed with the court, Madrigal fled the Queen as he was being walked back to a squad car.
The incident, which occurred June 14, led to a north Napa manhunt that shut down streets around the Queen as officers with the hospital, Napa Police Department and Napa County Sheriff’s Office searched for Madrigal. With the help of two K-9 units, they were able to safely locate the patient about an hour after he escaped.
The suspect’s mental health evaluations and treatments began in late 2011 after he climbed a water tower on Coombs Street, stayed there for more than six hours and threw a can possibly filled with clay at an officer on the ground. The object narrowly missed the officer, according to court and police records. He was taken into custody after being hit with a stun gun.
During a subsequent court appearance, Madrigal “threatened to harm everyone in the courtroom, including a specific threat to (his public defender),” court documents show.
In subsequent evaluations, Madrigal explained that he climbed the tower because “he believed that terrorists were going to attack the United States of America with poison gas with three airplanes,” records state. He said he felt paranoid, thought people were following him and thought the water tower could take him “to another place very fast.”
Over the course of other evaluations, doctors learned Madrigal felt “he and his family (were) involved in some grandiose project involving spaceships and trips to mysterious places.” He thought the United States was trying to take over Mexico and the government held his family captive and showed signs of delusion, the doctors’ reports state.
During at least one evaluation, which led to the determination that Madrigal could be given medication involuntarily, the suspect’s Spanish interpreter could not make sense of his response, according to court records. Over the course of his treatment, Madrigal was given various antipsychotic drugs voluntarily.
Following his escape from Napa State custody, Madrigal was determined to be a high risk to flee again and Napa State petitioned to have him moved to Atascadero State Hospital, according to court records. Once transferred, on June 25, he underwent further evaluation and continued to receive care based in part on evaluations made in Napa.
Evaluations from Atascadero state Madrigal may have “suffered from an amphetamine-induced psychosis” prior to climbing the tower at the former Sawyer Tanning Mill. The report said he was dependent on methamphetamine.
In Atascadero, Madrigal was given medication for schizophrenia.
On Aug. 17, Madrigal reportedly participated in a mock trial and demonstrated proper courtroom behavior and showed he had knowledge of court proceedings.
By that time, Madrigal, “no longer (spoke) of the bizarre and paranoid delusions that he had initially when admitted to Napa State Hospital,” and “no longer (had) negative feelings toward his lawyer,” records show.
In a report dated Aug. 30, 2012, Madrigal was found to be a low risk to himself and others and on Sept. 6, authorities at Atascadero State deemed him fit to stand trial. He continued to take psychotropic medication.
Between that time and October 2, when he appeared for a hearing in Napa, Madrigal may have been transferred back to Napa State. The State Department of Mental Health did not respond to a request for information by Thursday afternoon.
During the October hearing, criminal court proceedings were reinstated for Madrigal and it appears he was transferred to the Napa County Department of Corrections until subsequent court appearances in December.
On Dec. 5, Madrigal pleaded no contest to assault with a deadly weapon. The District Attorney dismissed the vandalism charge. Two days later, a judge sentenced Madrigal to 364 days in jail, but gave him credit for time already served.
He was released from custody on three years of probation.
Nearly five months later, Madrigal was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting at Kohl’s and the District Attorney’s Office moved to have his probation revoked, which it was two days later when he was sent back to jail.
On June 5, Judge Mark Boessenecker, the same judge who presided over Madrigal’s murder arraignment Tuesday, released him from custody. The sentencing agreement stated Madrigal needed to keep in contact with a mental health agency and submit to a mental health assessment.
Around 11 p.m. June 20, Napa Police allege Madrigal entered the home of Don Buffington through a back window, stabbed Buffington multiple times in the torso upon being confronted and stole jewelry. He allegedly fled Napa in Buffington’s 2008 Chevy Trailblazer and was arrested around 4 p.m. June 21 near Lake Berryessa after being stopped by the California Highway Patrol on a suspected vehicle code violation.
On Tuesday, Madrigal made his first court appearance but did not enter pleas to the charges against him. He spoke through a translator and was appointed a public defender.
Napa Police Capt. Jeff Troendly said he does not know whether Madrigal is a legal resident of the United States. There were no indications on the jail booking report that he is in the country illegally, but at least one court document — from a December court appearance — makes multiple references to “immigration consequences.”
Troendly said Madrigal has family in Napa, but he believes they are not close and said they have not had contact since last Thanksgiving and Christmas. He said detectives have yet to establish whether Madrigal and Buffington knew one another.
Madrigal’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 3. He is currently in jail, having been denied the possibility of bail.