Stanislaus County judge reschedules murder trial

09/13/2013 12:27 AM

09/13/2013 6:54 AM

A Stanislaus County Superior Court judge has rescheduled a trial to start April 1 for a man charged with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend nearly two years ago.

Robert Vanderheiden is accused of shooting to death 26-year-old Teresa Rangel on March 21, 2011. The defendant’s trial was scheduled to start next week, but the judge granted a defense request to postpone the trial until spring.

Vanderheiden also has been charged with inflicting corporal injury on a spouse. Vanderheiden and Rangel lived with his grandparents at a rural home on Warner Road, about a mile west of Highway 99 just southwest of Keyes.

Stanislaus County sheriff's officials have said the couple had a relationship for about six to nine months.

Stanislaus County forensic pathologist Sungook Baik testified last week that Rangel suffered a gunshot wound in the center of her forehead, and there were no indications the gun was fired at close range.

In a preliminary hearing last year, defense attorney Kirk McAllister argued the prosecutor had not presented any evidence to indicate this was an intentional shooting.

He also told the judge that it’s possible Rangel fired the gun at herself because the evidence presented had not ruled out that possibility.

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