DA: Chico murderer found legally insane

A man who was found guilty of a 2018 murder on the Chico State campus has been found to be legally insane, according to the Butte County District Attorney.

Posted: May 25, 2021 9:05 AM

CHICO, Calif. - A man who was found guilty for the murder of a woman on the Chico State campus was found to be legally insane, according to the Butte County District Attorney.

30-year-old Samuel Johnson was found not guilty by the reason of insanity for the murder of 55-year-old Linda Blacksten on the Chico State campus.

Blacksten’s body was found on Oct. 30, 2018, around 5 a.m. on the south side of Kendall Hall in a pool of blood.

Witnesses said Blacksten was homeless and would sleep on campus occasionally.

On the night of the murder, police received a report around 1:18 a.m. of a man yelling at a female and threatening to kick her teeth in. Later, the caller said a verbal altercation took place at the area where Blacksten’s body was found.

Blacksten was killed by blunt force trauma and suffered fractures to her skull, vertebra, pelvis, and most of her ribs, according to an autopsy.

RELATED: Officials Identify Body Found on Chico State's Campus

Blacksten’s blood was found on Johnson’s pants and shoes.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said a not guilty by reason of insanity trial gets split into two phases, the guilt phase and the sanity phase.

On May 19, Johnson was found guilty of first-degree murder and on Monday was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Johnson is set for a placement hearing on June 23, 2021.

Johnson has been in custody since the murder and is being placed in a state mental hospital.

He faces a potential for a life sentence in the state hospital until doctors and a court determine he regained his sanity and will be safe to release.

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