Judge orders mental evaluation for suspect in Basalt attempted murder
BASALT, Colorado ” Five months after he was jailed on suspicion of attempted murder for attacking his ex-girlfriend in a Basalt-area trailer park, Ian Ranney was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation to see if he is competent to stand trial.
Eagle County District Judge Fred Gannett said he must make sure Ranney is capable of effectively assisting his attorneys in his defense. Gannett apologized to the victim, who was in the courtroom, and said that the justice process isn’t always speedy.
Gannett ordered the mental evaluation after he met with the lawyers from the district attorney’s office and the public defender’s office. He said a new issue was brought to his attention, but it was unclear if an attorney in the case requested a mental evaluation for Ranney.
Gannett told Ranney he wasn’t basing his request for the evaluation on anything he had witnessed, but felt it would be best given the seriousness of the charges Ranney is facing. “I’m just being prudent in doing this,” Gannett said. Ranney acknowledged that he understood the judge’s direction.
Ranney is accused of ambushing his ex-girlfriend outside her home at the Aspen-Basalt Mobile Home Park on Sept. 29. Police accused him of attacking her with a knife shortly before daybreak, when she came out to start her car. The woman suffered extensive injuries to her face, neck, back and hands.
Ranney, 25, is being held on $500,000 bond. In addition to first-degree attempted murder, he was charged with first-degree assault, felony menacing and stalking.
He was initially held in the Eagle County jail but was transferred to the Chaffee County Jail. When county jails are full, it is standard procedure for them to contract with other counties, whose jails aren’t full, to house some of their inmates.
Gannett said he would ask the sheriff’s office to hold Ranney in Eagle County after his mental health evaluation so that it would be easier for him and his attorney to communicate.
The mental health evaluation could take anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on the state hospital’s availability, Gannett said. A hearing will be held as soon as possible after the evaluation is completed.
Gannett refused to hold a hearing Friday on Ranney’s request to suppress evidence in the case, citing the need for the suspect to complete the mental health test first. Ranney’s attorney filed motions seeking to prevent use of evidence found in searches of Ranney’s car, home and office. Separate motions also seek to block use of calls made by the victim’s roommate to the police dispatch center and photographs of the victim’s injuries.
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