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New Details Released In Alleged Ax Murderer's Preliminary Hearing

By Shay Arthur
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:32:56 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 11:13:00 PM CST
TJ pic

New, gruesome details were released Tuesday in the alleged ax murder of two men in Mountain Gate.

36 year-old Thomas McDonald is accused of murdering 54 year-old Karl Bradshaw and 84 year-old Ralph Torborg with an ax on February 28.

Thomas John Allen McDonald, known by his friends as "TJ" recently returned to Shasta County after he served time at a mental health facility in Napa because psychologists believed he could not effectively communicate with his attorney, Frank O'Connor.

On Tuesday Shasta County Superior Court Judge Cara Beatty ordered McDonald to face two charges of murder, two charges of mayhem, and two charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

In the courtroom McDonald sat quietly as he listened to the testimony against him.

First to the stand was Gary St. Pierre, McDonald's friend and landlord.

He described McDonald's behavior in the weeks leading up to the murder as out of character and said he needed help and hadn't been taking his medication.

KRCR News Channel Seven has previously reported that McDonald is a schizophrenic.

St. Pierre said he often found McDonald talking to himself, eating raw meat or attempting to eat CD's.

On the day of the alleged murder he said McDonald had been watching the horror movie "Halloween" and shortly after - brandished a barbecue fork, stabbing St. Pierre in the face before turning on another man in the house, Captain Ricks.

Ricks, who is serving time in the Shasta County Jail took the witness stand as well, but refused to answer any questions from attorneys or the judge and was found in contempt of court.

Four investigating officers from the Shasta County Sheriff's Office also testified painting a picture of a man who was deranged.

They said McDonald admitted to the murders and said he even told them he ate some of Bradshaw's brain matter after smashing his head in with an ax, before cutting off several limbs of his second victim, his neighbor, Ralph Torborg.

Several people testified today that McDonald didn't like Torborg - because he had apparently killed McDonald's puppy and McDonald told investigators he attacked Bradshaw because he thought he was stealing tools from a nearby houseboat repair shop.

Prosecuting deputy district attorney Craig Omura said the gruesome details in this case are crucial.


"It's important we cover every detail of the case so the jury will have no questions unanswered," said Omura.

In a cross-examination defense attorney Frank O'Connor pressed detectives about the validity of McDonald's answers in interviews following the alleged murder implying he suffered from mental issues.
 

McDonald allegedly told officers he had purple eyes, 60,000 college degrees, and was an ex-Admiral of the San Francisco Police Department.

While McDonald's mental state continues to be debated, Omura said Tuesday's preliminary hearing brings closure one step closer for victims' families.
 

McDonald will be back in court on Janurary 22 when he will be re-arraigned and a trial date could be set.