A janitor who opened fire on his colleagues at Cal State Fullerton four decades ago, killing seven of them, has been quietly transferred from a state hospital in San Bernardino to a less secure one in Northern California, according to Orange County’s top prosecutor, who is outraged by the move.
Standing with relatives of two of the victims of Edward Charles Allaway, now, 77, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Friday he believed the transfer was a precursor to Allaway’s release from custody.
"Patton State Hospital inexplicably, without any notice to the DA, or without any notice to Allaway’s victims, unilaterally transferred Allaway to this state hospital in Napa. Why?” Rackauckas said. “Are they trying to quietly recommend his release? It looks like it.”
Allaway was transferred from Patton State to Napa State Hospital two weeks ago, Rackauckas said.
Allaway was working as a custodian at the college campus when he brought a recently purchased rifle to the library and shot nine people, killing seven of them, on July 12, 1976.
Before the Seal Beach salon massacre in 2011, in which Scott Dekraai fatally shot his ex-wife and seven other people, the Cal State Fullerton shooting was the deadliest in Orange County history.
Last month, a candlelight vigil was held to mark the 40th anniversary and remember those killed.
Allaway had a history of mental illness, but no one on campus knew that at the time of the mass killing, Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner recalled at the time of the vigil.
Allaway believed his coworkers were plotting a bizarre pornographic conspiracy involving his wife. He “rather methodically” hunted down his coworkers and shot them, Wagner said.
At his trial, the judge determined Allaway was not guilty by reason of insanity and was criminally insane. He was committed.
After many years at Atascadero State Hospital, he was transferred to Patton State Hospital, a minimum-security institution, the Los Angeles Times reported last month.
Allaway has tried repeatedly to secure his release, arguing he has been cured. Hospital staff have supported his efforts through five petitions, Rackauckas said.
The district attorney called the Napa facility “idyllic,” saying Allaway could easily walk to a nearby road in 10 to 15 minutes if granted ground privileges.
There’s no legal requirement that the DA’s office or victims be notified of Allaway’s movement within the state hospital system, Rackauckas acknowledged. But he said he had written a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and the heads of Patton and Napa state hospitals in hope of having a discussion on their policies.
Paul Paulsen, brother of Allaway victim Deborah Paulsen, who was a 26-year-old graduate student when she was killed, said he had mourned and endured the repeated release petitions for 40 years.
He objected to Allaway’s being moved to Napa, and to the lack of notification.
“This, in my mind, is a reprehensible action and eventual threat to me personally as well as our local communities,” Paulsen said. “God help us all if he is every released in any way, shape or form.”