A man accused of killing Stanislaus County sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Wallace will be sent back to a state mental health facility after he refused to take medication while held at the San Joaquin County Jail.
The criminal case against David Machado remains suspended. The court several months ago determined Machado's mental competency needed to be restored before proceeding.
Machado, 38, is charged with murder in Wallace's death last year. The deputy was killed shortly before 8:30 a.m. Nov. 13, 2016, 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 Hughson. Authorities say Wallace was shot in the head twice at close range.
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In late January, Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff said Machado is able to understand the court proceedings, but not capable of assisting his attorney in the case. Machado was sent to a state mental health facility, where he was provided treatment and medication.
Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne said Tuesday morning that Machado's mental competency had been restored and he was returned to jail. Machado was being held at the San Joaquin County Jail instead of being housed at the Stanislaus County Jail, where he would be supervised by Wallace's fellow deputies.
Mayne, who is prosecuting the case, said Machado refused to take medication, and he was not forced to take the medication at the jail. The prosecutor told the judge that Machado's "delusions had returned."
The defense was challenging the state hospital's conclusion that Machado's competency had been restored, so the court scheduled a Nov. 16 mental competency trial, where the judge would hear evidence from both sides and decide whether Machado was capable of facing his criminal charges. Zeff on Tuesday canceled the Nov. 16 trial.
Forensic psychologist Phil Trompetter was hired by the defense to evaluate Machado. Trompetter determined the defendant was not mentally competent to face charges, Judge Zeff said Tuesday. In his report to the court, Trompetter indicated he learned during his recent evaluation that Machado had not taken his medication while at the jail.
Deputy Public Defender Marlon Simon, who has been assigned to represent Machado, asked the judge to postpone his client's return to the state hospital. Simon argued that he needed time to research whether it's appropriate or otherwise precluded to force his client to take medication while at the hospital.
Mayne told the judge that the defense's argument appeared to be "another effort to delay" the proceedings.
Simon told the judge he only learned shortly before Tuesday's hearing that the prosecution was no longer challenging Trompetter's mental health assessment of the defendant. The defense attorney also said he was not going to respond to every aspersion cast by the prosecution.
The judge said he was going to send Machado back to the mental health facility based on Trompetter's evaluation, and his order requiring Machado to take his medication will remain in place. Zeff said the defense can litigate his ruling at a later date if necessary.
The court had already scheduled on Nov. 16 a mental competency trial, where the judge would decide whether Machado was capable of facing his criminal charges. Zeff on Tuesday canceled the Nov. 16 trial.
Machado cannot face charges in the deputy’s death until after his mental competency is restored.