Case of alleged Aptos shooter heads to trial

Patrick Aaron Collins speaks with his attorney Micha Rinkus during his preliminary hearing on Monday. (Photo by Todd Guild/Register-Pajaronian)

Investigators describe scene of shooting, stabbing

SANTA CRUZ— A Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge ruled Monday that prosecutors have enough evidence for a trial in the case of a man who shot his girlfriend and stabbed her husband in a rural Aptos residence during an attack in late January.

Patrick Aaron Collins, 36, has been charged with first-degree murder.

He allegedly shot Victoria Seidlinger in the head with a shotgun in her residence, and then walked to a house on the same property where her husband lived.

There, Collins confronted Steven Seidlinger, who was calling 911 as he shot Collins with a handgun.

Collins knocked the gun out of Seidlinger’s hand, retrieved the gun and stabbed Seidlinger in the neck before taking the phone and telling the 911 operator he had just shot his girlfriend in the head, Sheriff’s Sgt. Jacob Ainsworth said.

He remains in Santa Cruz County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He returns to court on March 26 for arraignment.

During a brief preliminary hearing, Santa Cruz County Assistant District Attorney Celia Rowland questioned two sheriff’s sergeants who responded to the Jan. 30 incident.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Robbins described a “confusing” scene when he arrived.

Under questioning from Rowland, Robbins said he kicked in the door and was the first one to enter the residence at 3140 Trout Gulch Road at about 4:30 p.m.

Once he entered, Robbins said he saw a bleeding man, later identified as Collins, lying on the floor with a handgun lying behind his head.

A second man, who police said was Steven Seidlinger, was sitting on a sofa with a stab wound to his neck.

As other deputies provided aid to the men, Robbins went to Victoria Seidlinger’s residence, where he found her reclined in a chair with a large hole in her head and a “large portion of her brain hanging out,” he said.

Investigators later found a shotgun, described as a camouflage Mossberg 500, lying nearby.

In a later interview, during which he was “very cooperative,” Collins said he was trying to kill Steven Seidlinger by stabbing him in the jugular vein, Ainsworth said.

Outside court, Steven Seidlinger’s sister Joni Seidlinger-Frailey said her brother is healing, but that he did not want to come to court.

“His physical wounds are doing well, his emotional state is shaky,” she said.

According to Seidlinger-Frailey, her brother and his wife were still married, and were still friends who ran their own home appraisal business called The Appraisal Company.

Still, they had lived in separate residences on the property for about a decade, she said.

“They long ago decided they couldn’t live under the same roof,” Seidlinger-Frailey said.

She added that Collins had been living with Victoria Seidlinger for about two weeks after the two met at a Soquel bar where she worked. The couple was merely “having fun,” Seidlinger-Frailey said.

The preliminary hearing was the first time Seidlinger-Frailey had heard the details of the attack.

“I’m shaking because I finally learned what really happened,” she said. “It’s very upsetting and very grisly.”


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