Morales murder trial delayed until 2011 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Morales murder trial delayed until 2011

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PASCO, WA- Another murder trial in the Tri-Cities has been pushed back until next year.

Ramon Garcia Morales and his brother have been in Franklin County Jail for nearly two years. They are accused of killing a man and critically wounding his wife in their Pasco home in December 2008.  

The trial has run into several delays as prosecutors and public defenders argue Morales' mental state. The judge has ruled Morales competent to stand trial, but the defense team says Morales won't speak or respond as they try to prepare his defense.

The judge has re-scheduled the trial for early January.  The judge is also considering appointing a Guardian ad Litem, who would review the evidence and make decisions in Morales' best interest, which could include a prosecutor's plea offer.

Franklin County has several murder cases that have been pushed back until after the holidays. Prosecutors must also travel to Spokane in November for the trial of Vicente Ruiz, accused of five murders 25 years ago. That trial is expected to last about six weeks. If it goes longer, public defender Kevin Holt says that could cause further delays in Morales' trial. Holt is on the defense team of both Ruiz and Morales.