Doctor says Junction nursing home suspect too sick to appear in court
November 14, 2007
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” A 91-year-old man accused of threatening to rape a nurse at his nursing home missed a court appearance because his doctor said he couldn’t be moved because of a blood clot in his leg.
Ralph Ridenour was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday but public defender Ryan Esplin gave District Judge Brian Flynn a doctor’s letter saying Ridenour has dementia and detailing the blood clot.
“Basically he’s in the active stage of dying, and they fear if he was transported, he will die, or his condition will get worse,” Esplin said.
Ridenour was arrested on Oct. 21 on suspicion of attempted sexual assault at the Palisade Living Center.
According to the arrest affidavit, Ridenour held the nurse’s sleeve when she was trying to leave and repeatedly told her he would rape her.
Nursing home staffers said Ridenour can become violent when he doesn’t get his way and, when he gets in trouble, seems to pretend he doesn’t understand what is happening, the affidavit said.
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At an Oct. 24 court hearing, Ridenour appeared to be sleeping at the defense table in his wheelchair. The presiding judge said she thought he was “playing games with the court” and ordered him to be transferred to a hospital for the psychiatric evaluation.
Chief deputy district attorney Tammy Eret said workers haven’t been able to evaluate him because of his condition. Eret said she would decide whether to file charges against Ridenour by his next hearing on Nov. 28.