Edward Allaway, the janitor who killed seven people at Cal State Fullerton a quarter century ago, says that now he recognizes the signs of paranoid schizophrenia and would seek help if they returned, according to documents released Monday.
Allaway's statements were contained in hundreds of pages of psychological reports and evaluations linked to his bid for release that were unsealed Monday at the request of The Times.
"I was not really there. It was severe mental illness," Allaway said in an interview with psychologist Martha L. Rogers about the shootings. "I doubt I would get to that stage [again] because I would recognize the problem."
The problem, said Allaway, was the delusion that there were people out to hurt him. He feared someone was going to bomb his car, or follow him home and kill him. He spent the days before the shootings at home, unable to sleep or eat.
In her report, Rogers appears impressed with Allaway, describing him as "open" and "completely cooperative in every way."
Allaway impressed others as well, the documents show. One worker at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino County, where Allaway has been a patient for five years, described how he would coach her as she practiced doing pull-ups.
"He's so helpful to others, a wonderful patient," another staff member, Rogers Combs, told Rogers. "Other patients respect him, look up to him."
Patton clinicians concluded that Allaway's paranoid schizophrenia is in remission.
That, an outside psychologist said, would be highly unusual.
"If you've got a diagnosis, a consistently documented diagnosis over a period of years of paranoid schizophrenia, it is unusual if you're not on medication to have this," said Dr. William E. Bunney, professor of psychiatry at UC Irvine's college of medicine. "But I can't say it's impossible."
In 1977, Allaway was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the July 12, 1976, killings at the university library. Allaway, now 62, has spent 24 years in three state mental hospitals. But now, with the backing of two court-appointed experts and staff members at a San Bernardino County hospital, Allaway is asking a judge to approve his release. A hearing is scheduled for September.
Rogers, who 14 years ago found Allaway to be a danger, said in her report that she now believes he should be released under close supervision. The first step to freedom for Allaway would be one year of supervised release. After that, he could petition for his full freedom.
"We all have as the highest priority to maintain the safety of the community," Rogers concluded in a report filed in March. "We all realize there is no statistical database . . . which can predict his level of future risk. But as best we can, the predicted risk is estimated as low."
Orange County mental health officials continue to oppose Allaway's release, noting "serious deficiencies in Mr. Allaway's personality structure, which are extremely resistant to change over time," according to a report by Bart Davis, a county forensic psychologist.
In his report, Davis noted that doctors have recently found potential for angry outbursts and a suspiciousness that "is possibly pathological." Allaway's inability to remember the shootings, Davis said, shows that he has not dealt with his crime.
"Nor has he adequately dealt with the fact that he reloaded . . . and continued to shoot and kill his co-workers," Davis wrote.
Allaway, on his lawyer's advice, has refused to interview with county mental health officials. That refusal prompted Patton's medical director in February to withdraw her recommendation from January 2000 that Allaway be released.
Allaway said he remembers buying the rifle used in the 1976 shootings, but not bringing it home. He knows who his victims were, but does not remember shooting them.
"I think some of them I knew. One co-worker [was a] very fine guy, I thought was a friend. I have no understanding why he was shot other than he was there," Allaway said.
"One was [a] female co-worker. . . . I shot her. I have no understanding. She was not a threat. Another, not sure of his name, very open and friendly to me. We talked quite a bit. . . . I shot him too."
Hospitalized Before the Fullerton Killings
The Fullerton shootings came five years after Allaway was hospitalized in Michigan following delusions that Black Panther militants were out to get him. During that stay, Allaway underwent seven electric-shock treatments, according to the records.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Daniel Wagner said he is skeptical about Allaway's recovery.
"He's still mentally ill and dangerous," Wagner said. "The same things that caused him to be dangerous in 1971 and again in 1976 are still present and would cause him to be a danger to others if he were outside of a hospital setting."
According to Rogers' report, Allaway has developed a written "relapse plan" to cope with symptoms should they surface after his release. She noted that Allaway is comfortable in a treatment setting.
The conclusions do not comfort relatives of Allaway's seven victims--and other opponents of his release.
"Based on the crimes he committed he should never be released, irrespective of his mental state today," said Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who has organized a committee to fight Allaway's release. "He should have to pay his debt to society . . . and 25 years doesn't even come close. He should get seven life sentences."
By law, Allaway is to be housed at state mental hospitals until a judge agrees he is fit for supervised release. The time has come, Allaway said.
"I will be under supervision. . . . If I get any behavior they do not understand or think is threatening they will take care of it," Allaway said.
Allaway said he feels "legitimate sorrow" for his actions but does not know how to express it. "It is not something you can just say: 'I am sorry. Forgive me,' " Allaway said.