SANTA BARBARA – January 24
Dr. Andrew Bourne, a highly-regarded vascular surgeon who had been recently charged in Santa Barbara with unlawful contact with a child with intent to commit a sexual crime, was today found dead near his Mammoth Lakes residence. As reported in Crime Voice on January 19th, Bourne, 46, and Joseph Walker, 48, filed pleas of not guilty with the court and were released by Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge George Eskin on $750,000 bond with GPS tracking devices to monitor their movements.
It was Bourne’s tracking device that led to the discovery of his body by his wife on Hot Creek Hatchery Road in the Mammoth Lakes community.
Mono County Sheriff’s Department issued a media release indicating that Bourne had been found unresponsive in the late afternoon of January 24th, and that while they do not suspect foul play in Bourne’s death, the exact cause of death remains under investigation by the Inyo County Coroner’s Office in Bishop. It had earlier been reported that Santa Barbara Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron, reputedly expert in prosecuting sex crimes under the guidance of D.A. Joyce Dudley, informed Judge Eskin that Bourne had announced to his alleged teenage victim his intent to commit suicide if he were indicted.
Bourne’s Ventura County attorney, Ron Bamieh, indicated to the media that his client had committed suicide by self-inflicted lethal injection. Bamieh did not mince words in comments to the media, suggesting that the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s aggressive charging of the case based upon the evidence at hand is the underlying motivator in Bourne’s suicide. “These charges led to my client’s suicide,” he said. “The charges filed are life-altering, and Dr. Bourne could not deal with the fact that everyone assumed him to be guilty.”
Bamieh’s frustration was apparent in his comments to the media, as he had spoken to his client just six hours before the reported time of death. “I told him I though we had a viable defense and that there were a lot of assumptions that were defensible.”
Dr. Bourne, who was recently chief of staff at Mammoth Hospital and sat on the Mammoth Lakes Unified School District Board of Trustees, resigned those positions when he was arrested and extradited on warrants issued by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney, Joyce Dudley.
Upon learning of Bourne’s death, Dudley indicated that an amended complaint will be filed against his co-defendant, Joseph Walker, who is due to next appear in Judge Eskin’s courtroom on February 10th.
Photos: courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking; Bamieh & Erickson; Santa Barbara County District Attorney
keyt: Reaction To Mammoth Lakes Doctor Found Dead