Matthew Taylor Coleman pled not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in San Diego.
Deputy Federal Public Defender Elena Sadowsky was assigned to his case Thursday.
The Santa Barbara surf school owner is charged with transporting his two young children to Rosarito, Mexico, and killing them. The charges are eligible for the death penalty.
A federal complaint filed in Los Angeles says Mr. Coleman believes he is “enlightened” by QAnon and Illuminati conspiracies.
He told an FBI special agent he thought he was “saving the world from monsters” by killing his children. He said they possessed “serpent DNA.”
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley said the not guilty plea is to be expected — even with the FBI agent’s testimony.
“A confession isn’t the same as an admission of guilt,” she told the News-Press.
To be represented by a public defender, one must show proof of financial need.