The lawyer for a Connell man charged with stabbing his 5-year-old niece wants his client to be evaluated by a state psychiatrist.
Oscar Garcia Romero, 32, did not enter a plea Tuesday during his appearance in Franklin County Superior Court on a new charge of attempted first-degree murder.
Instead, defense attorney Craig Stilwill expressed concerns about his client’s competency and said he will ask a judge to sign an order this week so Garcia Romero can be evaluated by Eastern State Hospital staff.
Another hearing is set March 7 to keep track of the case.
Garcia Romero allegedly acted with premeditated intent on Feb. 14 when he stabbed and slashed his niece, Alexia Romero Magana, in the abdomen with a butcher knife.
The girl was taken to Trios Southridge Hospital in Kennewick for treatment.
Police and court documents said she had run to hug her uncle inside the family’s Connell home, then followed him into his bedroom.
Moments later, a relative found Garcia Romero standing over his niece with the knife in his hand, and Romero Magana was on the bed with her hand over the wound in her stomach.
Garcia Romero is in the Franklin County jail on $500,000 bail, along with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.
He reportedly broke his right leg sometime over the weekend in the jail, and appeared in court in a wheelchair.
Sheriff Jim Raymond and jail commander Steve Sultemeier could not be reached at the office after hours Tuesday about what happened.