A man accused of killing Stanislaus County sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace will be sent to a state hospital to restore his mental competency before he can return to face criminal charges in the deadly shooting.
Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff said Thursday that a doctor determined David Machado does not need anti-psychotic medication, but he does require a stay at a state mental health facility, where he can participate in a restoration program.
Machado cannot face charges in the deputy’s death until after his mental competency is restored. The judge suspended the case after a forensic psychologist reported that Machado is able to understand the court proceedings, but the defendant is not capable of assisting his attorney in the case.
The deputy was killed shortly before 8:30 a.m. Nov. 13 after he spotted a stolen van at the Fox Grove Fishing Access near Hughson. Wallace, 53, was a 20-year Sheriff’s Department veteran, assigned to Salida, the courthouse and most recently Hughson. Authorities say Wallace was shot in the head twice at close range.
Machado’s murder charge comes with a special-circumstance allegation that makes the case eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors have not informed the court whether they will seek it.
During Thursday’s brief hearing, Machado sat quietly next to his attorney. He was wearing a red-and-white jail inmate jumpsuit with shackles around his wrists and ankles. There were no outbursts by Machado – he’s done so before in court – as bailiffs ushered him out of the courtroom.
The judge scheduled a hearing March 9 just to ensure Machado has been transferred from jail to the state hospital. If he hasn’t, the judge will schedule another court date until it happens.
About 10 minutes after the deadly shooting, a white Kia was carjacked about 8 miles away near Keyes. Machado was then identified as the suspect. Authorities issued an alert asking people to look for the car, a Kia Rio, and a statewide manhunt ensued. Machado was captured several hours later in Tulare County.
Two enhancements have been added to Machado’s murder charge, accusing him of acting with premeditation and using a gun to kill Wallace. The defendant also faces enhancements of using a gun in the vehicle theft.
When the deputy was killed, Machado was wanted on a bench warrant for allegedly failing to appear in court on a gun charge. He faces an additional enhancement because of that. Enhancements could lengthen the defendant’s prison sentence if he is convicted.