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Attempted murder suspect evaluated, fit to stand trial

Chief Deputy District Attorney for Josephine County Lisa Turner estimates attempted murder suspect Matthew Fanelli has refused to leave his cell and go to his court hearings between five and eight times. Friday, he refused to go to his Aid and Assist hearing, adding to the count.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 8:57 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Chief Deputy District Attorney for Josephine County Lisa Turner estimates attempted murder suspect Matthew Fanelli has refused to leave his cell and go to his court hearings between five and eight times. Friday, he refused to go to his Aid and Assist hearing, adding to the count. 

In February, the Oregon State Police said Fanelli drove down I-5 toward Grants Pass after unsuccessfully trying to steal a car at a Roseburg Red Robin. Driving down the freeway, Troopers said he shot at people in their cars. He got off of the freeway and tried to steal another car from a couple. He shot the husband multiple times in the torso and pistol-whipped his wife, dragging them both in a ditch. Troopers said he got back into his car. The chase ended behind the Shan Creek Community Bible Church when his car became disabled. Fanelli was arrested.

He has appeared in court before, but hasn't been appearing recently.

"He hasn't been appearing either in person at the courthouse in the jail or by video for several months now," Turner said. "He refuses to come."

On November 1st, the doctor evaluating Fanelli, Dr. Claudia Lakes, said he wasn't fit to stand trial but Turner thought otherwise.

"I played a voluminous amount of jail phone calls where he is talking to family members which provided more information to the court and the evaluator regarding his mental state and his awareness of the charges against him and the court process," Turner added.

When Dr. Lakes heard this evidence, she changed her mind.

Turner and the attorney representing Fanelli will be going into plea negotiations. On January 31st, 2020, Fanelli will enter a guilty or not guilty plea. He has to appear in court to do so. Turner said that will be addressed beforehand. If he enters a not guilty plea, a trial is tentatively set to begin in January 2021.

Fanelli is also a suspect in the killing of a man in Denver, Colorado. He's also a suspect in two separated armed robberies in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Park City, Utah.

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