FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Accused double murderer Dave McCann pleaded not guilty in court Friday, but the path to keeping him out of prison seems narrow.
McCann may not be admitting to murder in court, but prosecutors believe the case against him is strong. As Tierney McCann died, her sister watched, and she identified Dave McCann as the killer.
In search warrants Action News dug up, police also describe surveillance video from neighbors showing McCann walking to the house just before it happened, and walking away just after both Tierney and her mother were killed with a knife.
When police caught him five days later, McCann still had bloody clothing with him.
"The evidence is strong that the crime was committed, but what was his state of mind?" asked ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi. "The only defense I can see at this point is that he didn't know what he was doing and he just had this irresistible impulse to not control himself."
Capozzi says the warrants also reveal possible evidence of temporary insanity. McCann told police he couldn't remember if he still had the
clothes he was wearing at the time of the alleged murders. And even the victims' family members said he had recently been acting strangely.
But in two court appearances, McCann has been nothing but a polite and somber defendant.
"Mr. McCann, do you understand your right to a speedy preliminary hearing in this matter?" Judge Gary Hoff asked McCann Friday, who was distracted by a conversation with his public defender, Marina Pincus.
"I'm sorry, Your Honor?" McCann replied.
"Do you understand your right to a speedy preliminary hearing in this matter?" Hoff asked again.
"I do, Your Honor," McCann said.
"It appears as though he understands the process when he's in court," Capozzi said. "He knows what the purpose of the judge is, the defense attorney, the prosecution."
Capozzi says McCann's courtroom conduct shows he's not insane now, but doesn't rule out insanity at the time of the murders. He predicts a battle of psychiatrists if the case ever goes to trial.
McCann's public defenders have not raised the issue of insanity in court yet, but one of his attorneys tells us they are investigating his mental state at the moment Tierney McCann and Judith Cooper were killed.