Man charged with killing wife wants death penalty; competency questioned

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DUCHESNE — Charles Edward Dodd was extremely disappointed when he woke up in a hospital bed in August, according to Duchesne County sheriff's investigators.

Dodd, 76, expected to be dead after consuming a large amount of prescription drugs and a tumbler of vodka on Aug. 13, before stabbing himself in the chest and losing consciousness, the detectives said in court records.

The apparent suicide attempt occurred after Dodd killed his wife, Mary W. Ratliffe, by stabbing her three times in the chest as she slept inside their Duchesne home, court records state.

Dodd's desire to die has not waned, his attorney told Judge Lyle Anderson during a hearing Thursday to discuss Dodd's competency to stand trial for murder, a first- degree felony.

Dodd told a court-appointed psychologist he wanted to "plead guilty to the charge straight up, be sent to the (state prison) and have them put a bullet in his head," defense attorney Bill Morrison told the judge.

As a result of that desire, and what Morrison called Dodd's "resistance" in providing answers to the psychologist's questions, the examiner found Dodd incompetent to stand trial at this time. That contradicted the findings of the first competency evaluation performed on Dodd, leading Anderson to order a third exam.

You need to tamp down your impatience and cooperate.

–Judge Lyle Anderson

"You need to tamp down your impatience and cooperate," the judge warned Dodd, indicating that doing so was the best way he could resolve the case if he really wanted to enter a guilty plea.

Sheriff's investigators learned of Ratliffe's death and Dodd's apparent suicide attempt after an acquaintance notified them that Dodd had left two envelopes at her office containing $7,000 in cash and two notes indicating that he intended to kill his wife and himself.

"This money was our stash for burial," one of the notes read, according to court records. The other note stated that Dodd feared someone would take his 82-year-old wife away from him because he had recently injured his head.

The acquaintance who contacted deputies said Dodd had been depressed lately and had stated "the end will come."

Dodd was interviewed in the hospital after he was found and told detectives his wife was "in constant pain, and they had talked about 'ending it' on numerous occasions," court records state.


Ratliffe's family and friends have said that she was not suicidal and was capable of caring for herself.

After Thursday's hearing, Morrison said he's not opposed to his client pleading guilty, if that's what he wants to do. But he is worried that Dodd's demand for execution indicates that he does not fully comprehend his situation.

"He can take responsibility without having such drastic consequences," Morrison said.

Dodd is due back in court Feb. 23 for another competency review. He remains in the Duchesne County Jail.


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Geoff Liesik


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