As David Attias walked into court in a button-down shirt and chinos, he seemed harmless, but meek-looking Attias was once known as "The Angel of Death."
Attias was a troubled 20-year-old college student when he mowed down and killed four pedestrians near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2001.
Three of the victims were just 20 years old, the fourth was 27.
Video taken at the scene of the carnage showed Attias fighting with bystanders. Witnesses also said they heard him yelling "I am the angel of death."
A jury convicted Attias of murder, but the same jury also decided he was insane. He was sent to a state mental institution.
The prosecutor said, "Mr. Attias is today, right now, presumed dangerous by the law."
A decade later, Attias is now back in court, asking to be released, saying he's no longer a danger.
Looking on was his father Daniel, a well-regarded TV director who has made episodes of House and Smash.
David Attias's lawyer said he has responded well to treatment.
"He understands and knows that medications will be a lifelong requirement of him," said his lawyer.
Abby Pollak, whose son, Ellie Israel, was one of Attias's victims, gave her reaction to the idea of Attias being released.
"It is profoundly horrific and it is filled with anguish for me and for all of us," Pollak said.
Lindsay Bourdakis lost her 20-year-old brother, Nicholas.
"It just doesn't seem fair that there's a living, breathing person in front of us who chose to take four lives. He could be walking out the door to spend time with his family and we don't get to do that," said Bourdakis.