Murder suspect Daniel Gunnarsson found incompetent to stand trial

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A judge on Wednesday found Daniel Gunnarsson, the suspect in the grisly slaying of a woman in Ridgecrest, incompetent to stand trial.

Criminal proceedings remain suspended against the 21-year-old. He’ll be sent to a state hospital where he’ll receive treatment to restore him to competency.

A hearing to determine exactly where he’ll be placed is scheduled for next month.

In determining competency a judge, weighing evidence including reports from a psychiatrist, rules whether a defendant understands the criminal proceedings against them and can assist their counsel with the preparation of a defense.

Before Wednesday’s ruling, Gunnarsson’s attorneys attempted to speak with him in the downtown jail. Public Defender Pam Singh told the court Gunnarsson was “not responsive at all” and she waived his appearance.

The competency hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday but Gunnarsson was taken to Kern Medical for undisclosed reasons.

Deputies arrested Gunnarsson the morning of of May 18 after he was found with the body of Kathryn Pham, 21, in an RV garage at his stepfather’s home on Skylark Avenue, according to court documents. Prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder and mutilation of a corpse.

Gunnarsson allegedly was upset Pham didn’t reciprocate his feelings for her, friends told investigators.

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