The State

Friends of an internationally famous psychologist said they were "stunned" to learn that he had been charged with murdering a woman in an apparent dispute over drugs. Richard Bandler, 36, a co-developer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a method of obtaining rapid behavior changes by influencing thinking patterns on a subconscious level, has been in Santa Cruz County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond since his Nov. 3 arrest on murder charges in the shooting death of Corine Christensen, 31, of Capitola. Sheriff's detectives said cocaine was the apparent link between Bandler and Christensen. Friends, however, said such an act would be uncharacteristic of Bandler, despite his reputation for moodiness and unpredictability. "It is totally out of character," Palo Alto psychiatrist Dr. Robert Spitzer said. "I would be very surprised if he would do something so stupid and impulsive and weird."

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