FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A man accused of killing a 39-year-old at a Fort Collins McDonald's was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was sentenced to an indefinite time at the state hospital.
This case began on July 19, 2021. Around 10:40 a.m. that day, Fort Collins police responded to a shooting at a McDonald’s restaurant along the 2400 block of S. College Avenue. Fort Collins Police Services said the body of the victim, later identified as Christopher Johnson, 39, of Fort Collins, was inside the restaurant. He had died.
Police said the suspect was not at the restaurant, but was last seen driving a stolen Honda CRV.
Within 26 hours, they had arrested Victor Corwin, who was 28 years old at the time.
For more than two years, Fort Collins police, the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and other assisting agencies investigated this case. They found no connection between Corwin and Larimer County or Johnson. He "chose to commit the murder spontaneously and at random due to paranoid delusions stemming from a diagnosis of unspecified schizophrenia," according to the district attorney’s office.
Three experts in forensic psychology and psychiatry evaluated Corwin and determined that he was insane at the time of the crime. They found he “suffered from a mental disease or defect that left him incapable of knowing the wrongfulness of his actions,” according to the district attorney's office.
As a result, Corwin was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Per Colorado law, a defendant who is found to be insane must be committed to the Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo instead of the Department of Corrections. Corwin was committed on Tuesday. The Colorado Department of Human Services will determine when or if he is eligible for release.
At the sentencing hearing, Johnson's family members remembered him as a son, brother and father who felt a duty to serve in the U.S. Army after the attacks on 9/11.
District Attorney Gordon McLaughlin said his heart broke for the family due to the randomness of the crime.
"While the right legal result was reached in this case, I share the family’s belief that the state hospital will need to maintain custody of Mr. Corwin for the remainder of his life to protect the community," McLaughlin said.