Ricardo Gardin-Gonzalez, the man accused of fatally shooting his wife and mother-in-law and raping his stepdaughter last July, is still unable to feed himself because of injuries he sustained when he shot himself that same day following a police pursuit.
His injuries have delayed the criminal case in Thurston County Superior Court. Details of the defendant's medical status were presented Tuesday to Judge Jim Dixon as the prosecutor and defense attorney provided an update on the case.
The hope was that substantive case issues would be discussed Tuesday, but Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim said it was more of a status report because of the medical issues that Gardin-Gonzalez is dealing with at Stafford Creek Correctional Facility in Aberdeen.
The murder charges stem from the deaths of Rachel Gardin-Gonzalez, 31, and Kimberly Redford, 51, in a Lacey home on July 31, 2017. Gardin-Gonzalez, 32, appeared before Dixon on Nov. 22, and pleaded not guilty to several charges, including two counts of aggravated first-degree murder — charges that could be punished by the death penalty in Washington.
He shot himself near the Olympia Auto Mall before being captured, and has underdone multiple surgeries.
Tunheim said the man can't feed himself, so he can't be returned to the Thurston County Jail because jail staff are not in a position to feed him.
"Once he has been cleared to return to our jail, that drastically improves our ability to move this case forward," Tunheim told the judge.
Gardin-Gonzalez's attorney, Kelly Seago, said her client is still being fed through a gastrointestinal tube. He also has had multiple facial surgeries and is working with a speech therapist.
She said doctors wanted to make sure he was gaining weight and he has.
"His weight has gone up dramatically," she said.
After Tuesday's hearing, Tunheim said he has yet to make a decision on whether the state will seek the death penalty because he wants to make sure that Gardin-Gonzalez is medically fit to understand what is going on.
"Once he can medically come back and interact with his defense lawyers, then I will make that decision," he said.
Another status hearing is set for June 5. The trial is tentatively set for October.
Other charges are as follows:
- Two counts of first-degree rape while armed with a deadly weapon: Ricardo Gardin-Gonzalez allegedly raped his 11-year-old stepdaughter after killing her grandmother on July 31.
- First-degree rape of a child: Gardin-Gonzalez is accused of sexually assaulting his 11-year-old stepdaughter in April or May of this year.
- Two counts of first-degree kidnapping while armed with a firearm: Gardin-Gonzalez allegedly kidnapped his 11-year-old stepdaughter and 3-year-old son following the death of their mother and grandmother on July 31.
- One count of first-degree burglary while armed with a deadly weapon: Gardin-Gonzalez allegedly entered his estranged wife’s home with the intention of committing a crime against her.
- First-degree assault while armed with a firearm: Gardin-Gonzalez allegedly shot at a Lacey police officer while fleeing from the crime scene.