Travis Reinking, Accused of Killing 4 at Waffle House, Commanded by God to Kill: Attorney

Travis Reinking said he believed he was commanded by God to kill people at a Waffle House in Tennessee nearly four years ago because they were government agents, attorneys said Monday.

Reinking, 32, is accused of fatally shooting four people and injuring several others with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in a Nashville Waffle House in the early morning hours of April 22, 2018. His trial began Monday for charges of first-degree murder, but Reinking pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, The Associated Press reported.

Luke Evans, one of Reinking's defense attorneys, told the jurors Reinking was paranoid, delusional and suffered from auditory illusions. He said Reinking suffered from severe schizophrenia, which had only worsened over the years, according to the AP.

"You have to consider the perception of that person and we believe that when you do, that at the conclusion of this case, you will be convinced he suffered from a mental illness and that he was insane at the time of the shooting," Evans said during opening statements, according to The Tennessean.

Evans told the jury that Reinking believed all the people inside the Waffle House were government agents and he was commanded by God to go there.

"It doesn't start with what happened at the Waffle House. Travis Reinking is severely mentally ill. He's schizophrenic," Evans said according to The Tennessean. "He's battled this for years."

Evans said a couple of months before the shooting, he was "completely untethered from reality," the AP reported.

The defense attorney explained to the jurors the delusion Reinking was experiencing such as believing Taylor Swift was his girlfriend and a government agent who was after him, according to The Tennessean. He also believed he could talk to aliens and speak directly with God.

"He believed it wholeheartedly," Evans was quoted saying in The Tennessean.

During opening statements, Assistant District Attorney General Jan Norman told the jurors Reinking made conscious decisions leading up to the shooting. The AP reported Norman pointed out he bought extra magazines ahead of the shooting and went to the Waffle House during a busy time.

Norman also said Reinking was able to understand and corporate with police's instructions when he was found two days later in a wooded area following the shooting, according to the AP.

"The proof in this case is that Travis Reinking made a choice," the AP reported. "He made several choices that led to the shooting."

Since Reinking pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Monday, his lawyers must prove he was suffering from mental health at the time of the crime and that the mental illness made him unaware his actions were wrong, according to the AP.

Reinking was treated for schizophrenia at a medical facility, which delayed the trial for months. However, he was recently deemed competent to stand trial after he was previously found not competent in August 2018, WTVF-TV reported

Reinking was charged with first-degree murder for the deaths of Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29; Joe R. Perez, 20; Akilah Dasilva, 23; and DeEbony Groves, 21. The AP said he also faces several counts of attempted first-degree murder. If he is found guilty he faces a sentence of life in prison.

Travis Reinking Murder Trial Begins
In this August 22, 2018 file photo, Travis Reinking appears at a hearing. Mark Humphrey/AP Photo