PASCO — Two Pasco teens who saw their parents gunned down in the family's living room in December 2008 now are included in the charges against one of the suspects.
Prosecutors filed additional charges against Ramon Garcia-Morales a week before he is set for trial in Franklin County Superior Court.
On Tuesday, Garcia-Morales, 31, was informed he now faces two counts of second-degree assault for the two daughters who were in the home.
He already is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. An alternative charge of first-degree assault was filed for the attempted murder, and four firearm allegations were added for each charge.
Defense lawyer Kevin Holt opted to wait to enter a plea on the new charges until he can compare the amended to the original information. Garcia-Morales returns to court Tuesdayto handle final motions before jurors are called in the following day.
Garcia-Morales and his younger brother, Jose, are accused of confronting the victim on Dec. 10, 2008, out of financial desperation because they had lost out on a job in the fields.
Court documents have said Ramon gave Alfredo Garcia the chance to pay at least a part of the "money he had missed out on," then opened fire on the father of four and his wife.
Garcia, 42, died from his wounds. Maria Ramirez de Garcia, 38, was seriously wounded and now uses a wheelchair. Daughters Erika and Maricela were not injured.
The suspects were arrested the next day in Mountain Home, Idaho.
Holt maintains that his client is incompetent because his appearance has deteriorated while on a hunger strike in jail, and he no longer is caring for himself or talking to his lawyers. But Judge Vic VanderSchoor has ruled that Garcia-Morales does not suffer from a mental illness based on the testimony of a state psychologist.
Jose Garcia-Morales, 27, has been ordered back to Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake for further treatment and competency restoration.
Jurors in Ramon Garcia-Morales' case will be asked next Wednesdayto fill out a questionnaire covering their knowledge of the case and whether they know someone who has been a victim of a violent crime.
The court plans to take a four-day Memorial Day weekend with the hope of having a jury in place June 1 to start testimony.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org