Ragsdale fires defense attorney

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There's a major delay in the case of murder victim Kristy Ragsdale. Her husband, who is accused of the crime, has fired his attorney and appears ready to pursue a defense claiming prescription drugs made him do it.

David Ragsdale told the judge today he wants his defense to go in a new direction. His prominent attorney, Greg Skordas, had been negotiating with prosecutors to avoid a trial and eliminate the threat of the death penalty.

There is an obvious division in David Ragsdale's family. It appears most of his family, except for his sister, wanted him to take a plea deal.

Ragsdale fires defense attorney


But David appears to have sided with his sister, Tamara Ragsdale, and together they plan to use the fact he was taking anti-depressants, as his defense for murder. Tamara Ragsdale said, "Certainly, the huge combination of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and other prescription drugs David was subjected to played a role in the tragedy. And that is backed up by several experts in the field from across the country. Similar events, because of the effects of improper prescribing of SSRI drugs, are not uncommon in this state and other states. You might be aware that Utah leads the nation in prescribing twice as many SSRIs drugs than any other state."

The judge reluctantly allowed David Ragsdale to fire his attorney but was very upset to hear he wanted another two or three months to find a new attorney. So a public defender has been appointed to represent Ragsdale, unless he can hire his own.

Prosecutors believe the change in the defense only adds more insult to injury to Kristy Ragsdale's family and will only work against Ragsdale as prosecutors make a decision on the death penalty. Prosecutor Craig Johnson said, "We've been waiting, in large part, trying to negotiate between the family, trying to work out some way to avoid having them have to testify, but again we're at a point now that Mr. Ragsdale is basically saying, ‘I'm going to make them testify again,' and that really weighs heavily in our decision we have to make in the next three weeks."

Prosecutors have until Aug. 1 to make a decision on if they will seek the death penalty, if David Ragsdale is convicted.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com


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