PASCO -- A Pasco murder suspect who was said to be too dangerous to be evaluated at a state psychiatric hospital will be guarded by Franklin County correction officers during the evaluation.
Gregorio Luna Luna, 31, is expected to be driven up to Eastern State Hospital by the corrections officers and they will stand by Luna Luna for up to an eight-hour evaluation, attorneys told Judge Robert Swisher on Thursday.
Swisher previously ordered Luna Luna to undergo a competency evaluation at Eastern State, but this past month hospital officials said Luna Luna would be too dangerous to be kept in the open, dormitory-style ward with other vulnerable patients.
While in jail, Luna Luna reportedly had made a weapon by taking part of a mirror and wrapping it in a sheet and had apparently been trying to escape by digging holes inside the jail, prosecutors said during a hearing last month.
Officials wanted Luna Luna to be evaluated at the Franklin County jail but defense attorneys objected and said he should be taken to the hospital.
Former Franklin County Prosecutor Steve Lowe, who was appointed as a special prosecutor to try the first-degree murder case, said both sides agreed the evaluation could be done at Eastern State under the watch of corrections officers.
The evaluation is expected to be scheduled within the next week. A status hearing has been set for April 28.
Lowe also told Judge Swisher that he begins his new job with the state May 1 and is working to make sure another prosecutor can take over if he's unable to stay on the case.
Luna Luna is accused of attacking and fatally stabbing his former girlfriend, 21-year-old Griselda Ocampo Mesa, in her Pasco apartment May 24.
* Paula Horton: 509-582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org