Murder suspect taken to hospital, competency hearing postponed

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Ridgecrest man accused of stabbing a 21-year-old woman to death has been taken to a local hospital and his competency hearing was postponed until he can appear in court.

Daniel Gunnarsson, 21, was taken by ambulance to Kern Medical for undisclosed reasons, his public defender Mark Aguilar said in court Tuesday. He said he didn’t have an update on Gunnarsson’s condition.

A judge decided to postpone discussing a psychiatrist’s report on whether Gunnarsson is competent to stand trial. Neither the judge nor the attorneys revealed whether the psychiatrist found Gunnarsson competent, but they noted it was an “unusual report.”

In determining competency, a judge weighs evidence — including psychiatrists’ reports — then rules whether a defendant understands the criminal proceedings against them and can assist their legal team in the preparation of a defense.

The morning of May 18, Gunnarsson was found with Kathryn Pham’s body in an RV garage at his stepfather’s home on Skylark Avenue, his pants “saturated” with blood, according to court filings.

Gunnarsson allegedly was upset that Pham wouldn’t reciprocate his feelings for her, friends told investigators. They said Gunnarsson had been suicidal the day before the killing, driving erratically and backing his car hard into a wall outside an apartment.

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